Hooked on Hope's, Paint the Delaware Pink, is a 2.5 day retreat providing women who have battled through breast cancer a chance to experience fly fishing on the Delaware River. The women are all novices to fly fishing and taught the basics of casting, tying, and fishing. Most importantly, Hooked on Hope gives them the opportunity to experience the healing a river and nature can bring.
Miss Mayfly® was honored when Beth Zmijewski, breast cancer survivor and director of the volunteer-based program, reached out to request Miss Mayfly® waders for their third annual retreat held in September.
The excitement was compounded when we discovered that long time Miss Mayfly® Ambassador, Kristal Narkiewicz, would be a participant.
Kim Ranalla, founder of Miss Mayfly® stated, "I met Kristal several years ago when she volunteered for a photo shoot early on in the companies journey. I knew right away that Kristal had a deep connection with women and strong leadership qualities."
See Kristal pictured below in the first Miss Mayfly® photoshoot.
The Spirit of Unity
Kim Ranalla recounts her experience below.
"That day I witnessed what was soon to become what I love most about women anglers- unity. We had five women who volunteered for the photo shoot- none of whom had known each other prior. At first the women were insecure, each revealing that 'they weren't very good anglers.'
A few were concerned if the waders would fit or if they would look good enough in them to be photo-worthy, but once they put them on, they each began to walk a little taller. They were ecstatic over the fit and comfort of the waders and conversed about how much they loved them.
As we walked towards the water, the women's courage evolved, their confidence emerged and I vividly remember Kristal exclaiming, 'Let's do this- we've got this!'
The women walked into the water, cheered for one another and let all of their insecurities escape from them. That day, the group of women bonded as if they were kindred spirits, leaving the day with hugs and hopes to see each other again. It was as if all of the worlds weight, laid upon their shoulders had washed away in the water.
Within this experience was an amazing revelation- when women enter the water, they just know each other. It was that day, witnessing such a profound bond between women, that changed my personal journey forever.
That day, I fell in love with women anglers. I fell in love with their spirit of unity. It wasn't long after that Miss Mayfly launched the ambassador program and I was honored to have Kristal join among the first participants in the program."
Hooked On Hope & Fly Fishing
Kristal Recounts Her Experience
Kristal: I arrived to the lodge for the weekend to warm hugs and smiling faces! I had just arrived for a weekend of fishing, sharing and healing. I was attending a fly fishing retreat called Paint the Delaware Pink for Thrivers of Breast Cancer. The weekend was hosted by a Breast Cancer Thriver, Beth, who wanted to do more for the local women of Pennsylvania through fly fishing. She knew how fly-fishing could be healing for women dealing with cancer.
We had the most amazing guides from all over the country who volunteered their time. We were on the West Branch of the Delaware- native trout country!
Our guides taught us how to fly cast, river entomology (bugs) and how to wade in the water. The guides were patient, kind and really funny! I learned a new cast...well I tried to learn a new side cast. Still needs a lot of work!
All Smiles In Miss Mayfly® Gear
Miss Mayfly® supported the event by sending waders for all of the women. Kristal said she was overwhelmed with emotion as she observed everyone’s (wader) fitting so well and their smiling faces. The ladies felt beautiful and confident ready for their new adventure. Many participants commented on how comfortable they felt adding that they would now like to fish with their partners.
Just Keep Casting
"I have fish my whole life, my mom taught me how! Fly fished for the last 10 years. This trip were going to be fishing in drift boats, which was a new experience for me. It started to rain after awhile and I knew this was going to be tough.
But I just kept casting. Finally about 50 feet from the pull out, I caught my first native rainbow!! That felt so good! All that practice, learning and it paid off! I always say the fish are the bonus, and this was the cherry on top of an amazing weekend".
"That weekend I met some profound women who shared their personal journeys, fears, but we also found healing and new paths! I left feeling recharged and excited. Somehow the water always finds a way to heal your soul"! -Kristal Narkiewicz
"These waders were so comfortable! They were not tight on one area and loose in others like most outdoor gear I’ve tried before. Even sitting on the boat, they did not pinch and feel tight like I had to wiggle to get comfortable. They had some give to them! Moving was very comfortable. The belt adjusters on either side were easy to reach and tighten/loosen on my own making using the restroom so easy! Love that the color is feminine too. I would highly recommend Miss Mayfly®!"
"Let me start off by saying, I am not a seasoned Fly Fisherman. With that disclosure, I offer this review. I was at a retreat for Breast Cancer Thrivers, where we were learning how to Fly Fish. Miss Mayfly® generously donated Waders for us to use. First off, I loved the color of these waders - a beautiful chameleon green. They fit really comfortably. But even better than the fit was the way they performed in the river. As a novice, I, of course, fell in the water while fishing. My guide was quick to help me up, but a majority of my body did go under. The fall did not hinder my fishing because I was not weighed down by water in my waders. My Miss Mayfly®’s managed to keep me mostly dry and very comfortable. It was a great experience, not hampered by my fall in the river, thanks to Miss Mayfly®."