TOM ROWLAND PODCAST
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“Females have a more natural inclination to being good at fishing, but it’s a typical male dominated sport. But honestly, girls are better at it.”
Chasten Whitfield is a young lady who has devoted her life to helping others through fishing. She was introduced to me through my friend, Capt. Paul Fisicaro, who saw a news story on her and thought I might be interested in having her as a guest. After watching the story myself, I called her immediately and scheduled her to be on Saltwater Experience.
Her story was told well through the show, but the 30 minute format left a lot of details out simply due to time restrictions. I sat down with her in this podcast and discussed how she began helping children who are terminally ill, or disadvantaged in some way. I learned how she copes with doing things differently than most 17 year olds, and where she is at in her journey.
Chasten started her passion to help people when she saw a RedCross commercial of a young boy and immediately wanted to raise money for him. This continued further when she took interest in a little boy named Big Ben at St. Jude’s. Unfortunately, Big Ben passed from a brain tumor, but Chasten continued to raise money for the family, totaling at $8,000 in 2-3 years time.
In the summer of 7th grade, Chasten quit cheerleading and signed up for a fishing tournament where she won first place. The next year, she participated in the same tournament, which raises money to fund a camp for burn victims. To enter into this competition, Chasten raised money to buy her own 13 foot skiff, and ended up winning the tournament. When she was about to receive her award, Chasten asked if she could donate the money back for the cause.
Since then, Chasten has participated in a multitude of tournaments and continues to give the prize money back to the charity sponsoring the event. As an inspiration for other competitors in tournaments, she has spoken in front of 400 people during a Captains meeting to encourage them to donate their prize money back to charity.
After companies had heard the news of Chasten’s generosity, sponsors have approached her a multitude of times. Currently, Chasten is sponsored by Yellowfin 21 with Mercury outboard to create a wheelchair accessible boat. That way, kids can safely get on the boat and the wheelchair can be placed and locked down so the kids can securely fish anywhere on the boat.
Chasten wanted to have personal interactions with the kid’s she was helping, and so she participated in a pier-fishing camp where she met a young boy with Spina Bifida. Wanting to take this boy fishing out on the water, she was able to have a friend of hers take them out for the day, where the boy was able to have the time of his life.
Chasten also has teamed up with The Children’s Dream Fund, and schedules about two to three kids that are handicapped or terminally ill each weekend and takes them boat fishing. However, boating can be quite pricey, which is why Chasten has created t-shirts for $20 each that will go straight to “gas money” to take the kids out boating. You can check out her website at Chastenwhitfield.com to make a donation, purchase a t-shirt, and learn more about her cause.
Its hard to believe that with everything Chasten does, she is still a high school student getting ready to graduate soon. Her selflessness, generosity and passion for fishing is truly an inspiration to anyone.
Paul Fisicaro- http://stripstrikecharters.com/
Lori Anne Murphy
See you on the water,
- Tom Rowland