Life works its magic in mysterious ways and I believe certain people come into our lives for a reason. In August 2009, Teton Springs Lodge & Spa hosted the First Annual “Casting 4 A Cure” fly fishing tournament and festivities, to benefit the Rett Syndrome Foundation. This is when I first met the Farnum family. Ella Farnum, the eldest sibling of the Farnum children, was then a five-year-old delightful child with huge brown eyes, thick brown curly hair, the rosiest of cheeks and a smile that perpetually covered her angelic face. Ella is now a beautiful young woman. She was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome in 2008, and this party was for her, and for all the children afflicted with this cruel and unforgiving disease. Not being at all familiar with Rett Syndrome, I did some research.

Rett Syndrome is a unique developmental disorder that occurs almost exclusively in girls but can be rarely seen in boys and is caused by a mutation of the X chromosome. This disease doesn’t discriminate, striking all racial and ethnic groups. The parents, well, they never see it coming. These happy, lovely toddlers develop normally until approximately 6-18 months of age and then symptoms can manifest which can include losing their speech and motor skills. The devastation to their small bodies doesn’t stop there. Rett Syndrome causes problems in brain function that are responsible for cognitive, sensory, emotional, motor and autonomic function. These can include learning, speech, sensory sensation, mood, movement, breathing, cardiac function, and even chewing, swallowing and digestion.

Ella’s parents, Bill and Beth Farnum, together with an impressive stable of supportive friends and family, are ferocious in their commitment to help each and every child with Rett Syndrome reach their maximum potential. Bill, being a rabid fly-fishing enthusiast, decided to combine his passion for the sport into something much more meaningful that simply chasing the illusive Rainbow or Brown trout. “Casting 4 A Cure was born out of a passion to help the children and families afflicted by Rett Syndrome,” says Bill, executive director for Casting 4 A Cure. Bill continues, “Combining my passion for fly fishing and the fight against RS was a natural progression; we are so thankful for the support and prayers we have received from an incredible network of family, friends, and co-workers.” At the first event in 2009, Bill and Beth talked about their lofty goal of someday reaching a million dollars towards helping those with Rett Syndrome. According to their website, Casting 4 A Cure events have indeed donated more than $1,000,000 towards the cause.

The event schedule for Casting has certainly grown throughout the years and interested parties now have a laundry list of cool places to choose from.

Teton Springs is thrilled that every August, participants from all over the country continue to flock to Victor, Idaho for this opportunity to be part of something special. Some of the guests have never held a fly rod in their hands while many have fished in exotic locations all over the world. It doesn’t matter. They all come together to support this very worthy cause. Because of the rarity of this disease, research dollars rely primarily on private sources and fundraising efforts. Events like Casting 4 a Cure are integral to raising the funds needed to help the critical outreach programs for families of Rett Syndrome patients and those suffering with this debilitating disorder.

Integral to the Casting 4 a Cure fund raising weekend August 26-28 is the fly-fishing tournament held for two days on two of the most iconic rivers in the west, the South Fork of the Snake and the Teton River. This year, over 20 teams, with the help of the expert guides from WorldCast Anglers, will head out early from Teton Springs Lodge & Spa and race to the South Fork and Teton Rivers for a two-day tournament and a chance for major bragging rights (and some pretty great prizes too from the coolest companies and Corporate Sponsors.)  A complete list of sponsors is listed on Casting 4 A Cure website and all of these companies, along with the participants, have been so instrumental in enabling the research dollars to grow each year.

I have rarely witnessed any group staying with us in the Lodge and mountain log homes having more fun than the Casting 4 A Cure participants. The camaraderie is truly infectious and is especially evident at their banquet the last night of their stay. The laughter emoting from the event tent echoes throughout the resort grounds. Sure, a huge deal is made honoring the winner of the “big fish” contest but you can tell that’s not why these folks are here. This fly-fishing community has rallied in a big way & is here to warmly embrace the cause.

Welcome back to Teton Springs Ella, family and friends!