Casting Carolinas is an independent 501 c 3 organization that began in January 2015. Casting Carolinas was founded so that our unique new F.L.O.W. program, which combines fly fishing instruction with medical education and mindfulness, could be offered to women surviving all types of cancer. Casting Carolinas 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. Our trademarked F.L.O.W. program model offers much more than fly-fishing instruction! 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, The Casting Carolinas Fly Fishing Sisterhood, and have the opportunity to participate in on-going gatherings and events including an annual retreat weekend.
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.
In 2017, Starr was named to the Southern Appalachian Fly Fishing Museum’s Hall of Fame in the “Humanities” category in recognition of her fly fishing expertise and years of volunteer service.
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 and mandolin in her band, All Strings Re-Considered.
Board of Directors
Kathy Ackerman was a founding force and the inspiration behind Casting Carolinas. In 2014 she convened a meeting to discuss forming our new non-profit and provided funding to begin our journey! She was the original Chair of the Casting Carolinas Board of Directors and continued to provide enthusiastic support for our mission for many years. Sadly, Kathy was diagnosed with glioblastoma in 2017 and continued to inspire all us all with her courageous fight (along with continuing other activities, she posted a video of herself sky diving while in the midst of treatment!)
As usual, Kathy became involved in helping others -raising funds for brain cancer research and continued with that until her death in 2022. She is greatly missed by all of us!
Libby Adamson, Treasurer
Libby Adamson grew up in High Point, NC and currently lives in Spartanburg, SC. She is the Business Manager at Colonial Trust Company, and previously worked at Pine Street School and The Episcopal Church of the Advent. She has valuable experience working and volunteering in the Spartanburg community.
Libby has shared her love of fly fishing with Casting Carolinas’ participants since 2015, working on staff as a fly fishing instructor. She previously volunteered with the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education and Casting for Recovery. Besides fly fishing, Libby enjoys working in the yard, volunteering and traveling. She has two delightful adult children, Emily and Walker, and two dogs.
Dr. Anna Garrett has been a clinical pharmacist for over 20 years and she’s worked in a variety of practice settings. While traveling her career path, she discovered that working with women in midlife is her true passion. Dr. Anna believes that suffering in perimenopause or menopause is not necessary and she offers a variety of services to create precision hormone management plans for her clients. These include hormone balancing, weight loss, epigenetic coaching and health coaching with a goal of helping women in perimenopause and menopause escape from hormone hell and feel amazing in their bodies so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond!
She is the author of Perimenopause: The Savvy Sister’s Guide to Hormone Harmony.
Dr. Anna obtained her Bachelor’s and PharmD degrees from UNC Chapel Hill. She also hold a degree in Business Administration with Accounting Concentration from UNC. She is currently enrolled in the School of Applied Functional Medicine, is a certified Level 1 Epigenetic Coach with Apeiron Academy, has studied with the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and is a Certified Intrinsic Coach.
Dr. Anna and her husband, Dan live in Asheville with their wonder dog, Max.
Kendra Lilley, Secretary
When Kendra Lilley first learned about Casting Carolinas several years ago, she knew she had found a cause she was meant to serve. She first dipped her toes in the water by volunteering as a psychosocial facilitator on the Casting Carolinas retreats, and was moved by the healing mission of these experiences for survivors of cancer.
Kendra was born in Minnesota, but finished out her adolescence in the North Carolina mountains and has called WNC her home ever since. Kendra has always been an avid outdoor enthusiast, and worked as an outdoor instructor throughout both undergraduate and graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Outdoor Adventures program. It was not until 2012, as Kendra was starting her education to become a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, that she first picked up a fly rod. Fly fishing immediately became an integral emotional resource for her to better cope with life’s difficulties, and she has been eager to share the therapeutic benefits of the sport with others ever since.
After graduating UNCG’s Counseling and Educational Development program with her MS in Counseling in 2014, Kendra spent several years working in community mental health and wilderness therapy settings. In 2018, Kendra opened her private practice, Sunburst Counseling, PLLC. Kendra loves being a self-employed entrepreneur, as it allows her to let her creativity shine.
Kendra is honored to expand her impact by serving on the Board of Directors for Casting Carolinas. She is eager to further develop and improve access to programs and resources that contribute to the emotional healing and well-being of cancer survivors.
Growing up in a paddling family, Ellen grew up with a connection to nature and a love for spending time in the outdoors, and knows first hand how beneficial spending time outdoors is to your health. Additionally, as a lifelong Girl Scout member she loves being able to give back to her community and support those in need.
Originally from Georgia, she started fly fishing in 2017 with her husband after moving to WNC and immediately fell in love. After working in the outdoor industry for several years, she now also works for Cheeky Fishing and Wingo Outdoors. Ellen and her husband, Tucker, still live in Asheville with their chocolate lab, Goose.
Richelle Calicott learned about Casting Carolinas after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021. She attended a Casting Carolina’s retreat and loved the support, resources, and connection she felt with the staff and other survivors there. She knew immediately that she wanted to serve this community and share her experience with others.
Richelle lives in the greater Charlotte area with her husband, two boys, and two dogs. She has a bachelor’s degree in business and is a founding partner of an IT consulting firm. She led a team in Charlotte’s 24 Hours of Booty event to support the 24 Foundation and cancer navigation for several years and, more recently, organized and directed an event to support the non-profit, NothingPink.
Richelle spends most of her free time outdoors cycling, paddleboarding, and fishing.
Arlene is a native of Niagara Falls, NY and has been in North Carolina since 1990. She is retired from a career as an administrative assistant in the insurance and legal fields. She is a two-time cancer thrive-or and became involved with Casting Carolinas when attending the first retreat. Since that time she has volunteered with Casting Carolinas in many capacities including participating on the Retreat Staff. Even though the fishing bug “did not bite her”, Arlene believes in the organization and its goals. Her hobbies are knitting and crocheting, including creating Knitted Knockers, (a very soft, flexible prosthetic) that she will make for anyone needing them.
Christopher (Chris) Ackerman, Chair
Chris Ackerman retired in 2015 after a forty year career in the radio broadcasting industry, having held a variety of talent, creative, sales, management and strategic consulting positions.
Chris’ late wife Kathy was a Casting Carolinas co-founder and is Honorary Chair Emeritus. As Kathy’s spouse and caregiver during her battles with breast and brain cancer, Chris knows firsthand how cancer can affect women and their families and he believes passionately in Casting Carolinas’ mission and work.
Chris has lived in the Raleigh area the past thirty years and is blessed that his children, their spouses and his grandchildren all live near by.
Tammy grew up in the mountains of Southwestern Virginia and currently lives in High Point, NC. She has worked in healthcare for over 30 years. She is currently employed by Aetna Insurance as a Provider Relations Manager. Tammy served as Chairperson of the Aetna Employees Reaching out (Aero) group for 4 years and also served on the Board of Directors for WestEnd Ministries.
In her spare time she enjoys volunteering, sewing, gardening and enjoying time with her adult daughters, Hannah and Darby.
Our Advisory Board
Mary Alice Monroe