Casting Carolinas is an independent 501 c 3 organization that began in Jan 2015. The Board of Directors and staff of Casting Carolinas are composed of volunteers who have conducted successful retreat weekends for the past 13 years for the organization Casting for Recovery. Casting Carolinas was founded so that this unique program, which combines fly fishing instruction with medical education and support, could be offered to a wide variety of women surviving cancer. Our program is committed to working with local communities across North and South Carolina to make retreats possible for all survivors. Understanding that some women are not able to attend a Three-day Retreat, we have designed a program that also includes One-day Retreats and activities.
All Casting Carolinas’ retreats and events are staffed by volunteers who are experienced, skilled professionals. Our staff are trained to work with survivors and dedicated to providing a retreat experience that enhances quality of life. We don’t just teach fly-fishing. We teach the skills that can help women deal more effectively with the emotional challenges of cancer survivorship. All Casting Carolinas alumnae become part of a support network and have the opportunity to participate in on-going gatherings and event.
Meet our Board of Directors and Staff
Starr holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of NC at Chapel Hill and has been in private psychotherapy practice in Asheville since 1994. She has many years of non-profit leadership experience. Starr was Chair of the Board of Directors at Helpmate, Asheville’s domestic violence agency, for 4 years and served on that board for 8 years. She was President of the Land O’Sky Chapter of Trout Unlimited in Asheville for 4 years and also served on that non-profit’s Board. Starr was Program Coordinator for Carolinas Casting for Recovery for 13 years and worked on the national staff as Regional Program Director for CfR for 4 years.
Starr owns and operates Brookside Guides, a fly fishing guide service, which has operated in Asheville for 15 years. She has taught hundreds of new anglers how to fly fish. In her spare time Starr enjoys playing fiddle in her band, All Strings Considered.
Board of Directors
Kathy Ackerman has been working with non-profit organizations for over 30 years. While employed in the playground industry, she set up fundraising and design programs for schools and community groups to fund playground projects. She also served as interim director of Western Wake Crisis, a local food bank and financial assistance agency, and for the past ten years, has been instrumental in fundraising for the Caring Community Foundation, assisting cancer patients with financial difficulties brought about by their illness or treatment. Although new to fly fishing, Kathy enjoys all aspects of the outdoors, and loves sharing experiences with her family, including grandchildren Charlie and LuLu. She and her husband Chris divide their time between Cary and Sylva, NC.
Dr. Shonda Asaad is a 21st Century oncologist that received her Doctorate of Medicine from West Virginia School of Medicine and obtained her Fellowship in Hematology and Oncology from Penn State, Milton S. Hershey Medical School. She has lived in Asheville, NC since 2010 with her husband and two sons and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Care. She is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Hematology, the Southern Medical Association, and the American College of Physicians.
Debra E. Stokes was born on Indian Island, Maine on December 28, 1955. She is a member of the Penobscot Tribe located in the State of Maine. She was raised in a military family and lived in many places, including Japan and Germany, always returning to her father’s birthplace in Charleston, South Carolina. She received a B.A. degree in Political Science from the College of Charleston, South Carolina in 1977, and graduated from The University of Maine School of Law in 1980. She has two grown children, Steven Scardato, who resides in Sunnyvale, CA, and is a design engineer for the Apple Company and Liza Scardato, who resides in Worcester, MA, and is Executive Director of Cunningham and Associates. She has practiced law in Charleston, South Carolina for 34 years, with an emphasis on the practice of Family Law. She has served on the Board of Neighborhood Legal Services and the John Ancrum A.S.P.C.A. She is currently a Commissioner on the West Ashley Embankment and Colonial Lake Commission and a volunteer for the American Cancer Association Hope Lodge. She is a very active member of the South Carolina Bar Association, serving on Committees including the Judicial Qualifications Committee and the Fee Dispute Committee. She is a member of the Senior Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association. She is admitted to practice in all State Courts in South Carolina, Federal Courts in the Fourth Circuit, and the United States Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States. Once she experienced her first fly fishing retreat as a cancer survivor, she and her yellow lab Wilma have participated in fly fishing trips throughout the Southeast. She is proud to be a member of the Board of Directors for Casting Carolinas, Inc.
Sarah Galloway, Ph.D.
Dr. Sarah Galloway received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Virginia. She completed her residency in Clinical Psychology at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. She obtained her fellowship in Behavioral Medicine at MUSC in 2011 focused on treating patients with co-occurring medical and psychiatric illness. After fellowship, she joined the faculty at MUSC and served as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Chief of Psycho-oncology. She moved to Hickory, North Carolina in 2015 to join Frye Regional Medical Center with the focus of developing an integrated primary and tertiary care Behavioral Medicine practice. As a psycho-oncologist, she addresses the impact of cancer on an individual’s mental health, quality of life, and the behavioral factors that influence cancer’s disease process, remission, and recurrence.
While growing up at a fish camp on the rivers and marshes of northern Florida, Gary Hogue developed a lifelong love for the outdoors and an understanding that nature fills a human need for growth of the spirit, mind and body. Whether guiding, outfitting or sharing with others about the outdoors these experiences led him to pursue opportunities in outdoor education and wellness.
Upon graduation from the University of South Florida, he chose the YMCA as a career path that would provide him the ability to help others improve their quality of life. During his 35 years with the YMCA, he managed and directed camping and health and fitness programs, as well as, management and consultant roles for board and staff development, financial development and non-profit strategic planning. Also, assisted Outward Bound, American Camping Association and the U.S. Navy with the development and delivery of vital program services.
Gary and his wife Mary reside in Hickory,NC and enjoy spending time with their family and grandchildren. He is the current president of Hickory Trout Unlimited where he pursues his passion of teaching fly casting and getting youth involved in coldwater conservation.
He is proud to join with the other dedicated Board members in advancing the mission of Casting Carolinas.
Wanda Taylor has been called the “1st Lady of Fly Fishing”by her colleagues because of her many firsts as a woman in the fly fishing industry.
She was the first female Orvis- endorsed guide in the Southeastern United States, as well as the first woman in the world to receive the International Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Master Casting Instructor designation. She was awarded the Southeastern IFFF 2005 Woman of the year award and in 2008 Wanda received the IFFF SE Council Award of Excellence. These awards were given to Wanda in recognition of her work with breast cancer survivors at Casting For Recovery retreats and the Georgia Women Fly Fishers Casting For Confidence program and for her teaching and testing activities for the IFFF Certified Casting Instructors program.
Wanda has been an Advisory Staff member of TFO Rods for two decades. She is on the Pro staff of Patagonia, Chota Outdoor Gear, Maven Fly and Aqua Design.
Wanda’s passion is introducing women the sport of fly fishing as a vacation for their mind, spirit and body.
Simons Welter grew up in Statesville, NC and is currently living in Spartanburg, SC. She graduated from Clemson University in 1988 with a BS Degree in Graphic Communications and married her wonderful husband, Hank, that same year. They have been happily married ever since and are the the proud parents of two grown children: Jenny, an analytical chemist in Charlotte, and John, a graduating senior at Clemson.
Simons has been guiding, mentoring and teaching fly fishing for the past 12 years, including working with Casting Carolinas, Becoming an Outdoors Woman, Casting for Recovery and the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education. She currently guides for Brookings’ Cashiers Village Anglers in Cashiers, NC. Since 2004, she has been a member of Mountain Bridge Trout Unlimited and has served as its president. Simons has sat on an advisory panel to the Department of Natural Resources regarding freshwater fishery laws and has testified before State Senate subcommittees. Whenever possible, she gets her hands dirty helping out with DNR projects. She spends all of her spare time on the rivers of North Carolina and upstate South Carolina, with a special love of fishing small streams for native brook trout on dry flies.
Our Advisory Board
Mary Alice Monroe
Marianne Soufas, MD