Teacher-student duo help 'cast hope' for women suffering from ovarian cancer

WLOS - October 21, 2016

MORGANTON, N.C. -- Our "Persons of the Week" are a teacher and student who share a bond. Together they are fighting a disease that's had a profound affect on their lives. It's a cause that has caught on with some teenagers.

John Zimmerman, a teacher at Patton High School in Morganton and former student Taylor Sharp share the pain of losing a loved one to ovarian cancer. John lost his grandmother. Taylor was a junior at the time of his mother's death. "It was soon after my mom passed I realized I wanted to try to be able to raise money to help women fight the disease that didn't have financial means to do so," Taylor said.

Beginning with their shared passion for the sport of fly-fishing, they launched the non-profit "Casting for Hope." It's a way to raise money, awareness and for a retreat for patients with ovarian cancer, a disease that has no diagnostic tests to detect it. "So, usually if ovarian cancer is found in stage one, it's by total accident," Zimmerman added. Since it's often detected in later stages, it is often terminal.

At Patton High School, dozens of students can be seen wearing teal colored t-shirts with the "Cast for Hope" logo. Tess Causby, a student, described the importance of the non-profit. "You have all these other organizations talk about breast cancer and no one really talks about ovarian cancer," Tess said. Students are learning lessons in giving in a variety of fundraisers. "We added in a music concert and now added a 5k. We're a lot more than a fly-fishing tournament," Taylor added.

They've been casting for hope for almost five years now, raising about $300,000. For Taylor Sharp, "Casting for Hope" represents something personal. "It feels like I'm honoring my mom in that sense, so always that connection to home, connection to her, to my past," he explained. "Casting for Hope" has a winter concert coming in December. Click here to learn more about upcoming events and about ovarian cancer.