'Fishing is actually a tool ... to get hope back into their life'
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- While Oregon's wilderness offers unrivaled natural beauty, those outdoor destinations aren't always accessible to those living with a disability.
The recently established non-profit Disabled Fishing Oregon is helping open up Oregon's terrain by getting people out on the river. On Saturday, founder Craig Brown went out with a group for their maiden voyage ifishing trip on the McKenzie River.
"Fishing is actually a tool ... to get hope back into their life," Brown said.
For Eileen Steward, a fishing trip out on the river was a distant memory.
"I'm not even sure I remember what it feels like '99 was my last fishing trip," Steward said.
Thirteen years ago she was hit by a truck - an accident that altered her life.
"I had my leg removed," Eileen said. "They cut it three times, finally they finally took the knee. So I don't have a knee, and my arm was toast already."
She then fought a tough battle with cancer. Now in remission, Eileen got the chance to get on the water and fish with a group put together by Disabled Fishing Oregon.
Eileen remembered that after the crash, she lost more than her limbs.
"When I had my accident friends just gradually disappeared," said Eileen. "I don't know what's gong to happen after this- but maybe I can make some more friends this way."
She said the experience is about much more than the great outdoors.
Disabled Fishing Oregon brings together volunteers and organizes fishing trips across the state.