Casting Carolinas offers women affected by cancer a restorative fly fishing experience
Fly fishing is often referred to as an “art.” This is partly due to the fact that the physical aspect is equal to the mental, and to reduce the experience to mere mechanics is a gross understatement. There is a certain serenity encountered when fly fishing which cleanses the mind and allows a searching of the soul. This serenity is being used by a local organization named Casting Carolinas, which offers free fly fishing retreats for women of North and South Carolina who are cancer survivors in any stage of recovery. Simply put, they are changing lives.
Starr Nolan is the Executive Director of the non-profit and, just like the rest of the volunteer staff, she is an experienced and skilled professional. For example, the first three women inducted into the Appalachian Fly Fishing Hall of Fame are on staff. Most of the women attending have never fished before, but then again it’s not all about the fishing. Nolan says that women are encouraged to “stop, take a breath and look what’s going on inside.” The design is to promote healing from the trauma of being diagnosed with cancer, but the support doesn’t stop at the end of the three-day retreats. All Casting Carolinas alumni become part of a support network, The Casting Carolinas Fly Fishing Sisterhood, complete with a private website and on-going gatherings and events.
Mindful to the needs of the participants, they have also developed a one-day retreat for those who are unable to attend for three days. The retreats offer a unique program that combines cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing.
Jackie Greene of Surfside Beach attended the second retreat and has been coming back as a volunteer ever since. “It helped me heal and it changed my life. Now I get to watch the healing happen to other women before my eyes at every retreat,” says Greene. The staff is trained to work with survivors and is dedicated to providing a retreat experience that enhances quality of life. The next scheduled retreat is October 5–7, 2018, at the Lake Logan Retreat Center in Canton, North Carolina.
The retreats are completely free to first-time participants and the organization is a 501(c)3. For registration to attend or info on how to volunteer or donate, head to the website at www.castingcarolinas.com or call (828) 407-0560.
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF CASTING CAROLINAS