MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A young man received the fishing trip of his life with the help of Fly Rod Chronicles with Curtis Fleming.
Brett, whose last name will be withheld for confidentiality reasons, had a two-year battle with leukemia and received treatment at WVU Medicine Children’s.
âHe was a great athlete and he played at Alderson Broaddus College,â said Curtis Fleming. “And he was a great soccer player, he never had any health problems and he just fell one day on his way to class and was diagnosed with leukemia.”
Fleming said Brett was on the verge of losing his leg and, more importantly, his life. He said that without WVU Medicine Children’s, he might never have had the opportunity to take Brett on this trip.
In the show’s most recent episode, Brett got the chance to visit northern Georgia to fish in crystal-clear waters that even former President Jimmy Carter fished in. Brett’s invitation to the trip came when one of Fly Rod Chronicles’ sponsors, Sacramento-based Westervelt Ecological Services, was unable to make the trip due to COVID-19.
They asked Fleming to donate the trip to someone who has struggled, who has overcome a lot and who deserves it.
Fleming said he turned to his daughter for help in making a decision. She chose Brett because she knew his story well and they went to school together.
âThis kid is just amazing,â Fleming said. âHe was so grateful. When he got the phone call he said to himself “I can’t believe this is happening”. He’s just such a deserving young man.
The original plan was to travel to Georgia in a private plane chartered by Steve Antoline. With Steve, his daughter, Fleming and his film crew, things were tight.
This is why Fleming said he was hit when Brett asked him to bring another person. He said it was different from Brett asking a stranger to come with him. With that in mind, Fleming called Brett.
âHe’s like ‘I want to bring my dad,’â Fleming said. “And he said ‘my dad was there those two years for me.’ And he said ‘My mom was but my dad was there on the football field, he was there on the baseball, he was there when I went hunting and fishing. And he said ‘I’ll give anything if my father could come with me.’ â
Fleming said he led the idea for WVU Children’s and its sponsors and that they were happy with it. He describes Brett as the perfect fit for the three-day trip.
They fished at a private fishing spot and even got a free concert by Thomas Fountain, a country music artist.
“I’m like ‘hey Thomas, would you come fish and do a gig for us’ and he’s like ‘fish?’ I’m in it, âFleming said.
“It all came together and it was only three days that everyone was fishing.”
Fleming pointed out that his show is unscripted. He said every interaction and moment he had with Brett was genuine and real because his show is all about storytelling.
The host said the show was not about him but the people he brought in to share their stories.
Once again, Fleming said he would never have had the chance to really get to know Brett without WVU Medicine Children’s.
âThey have a very weak point in my heart,â he said. “What they do and what they did and where they are going in the future – I consider it to be, and I grew up here in West Virginia, when people got sick we had to go to Cleveland and we were supposed to go to places like Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. But now, thanks to WVU Medicine and everything we have here, we have the best facilities. Here in Morgantown, which caters to UHC in Bridgeport. “
Fleming said he is grateful for the work the Children’s Hospital has done and hopes they continue to save countless lives like they did for Brett.
He said he liked the hospital’s director of operations, Amy Bush, very much. Adding that the future of children’s health in West Virginia is more certain thanks to the work of Bush and his team.
“What WVU Medicine Children’s is going to have is maybe my child, it can be my grandchild, or our future that we never know is in store for us,” Fleming said. “But we know that we are going to have the best facilities and that they are going to have this chance to fight and that they will go to the best place in the world.”
Brett’s episode of Fly Rod Chronicles starring Curtis Fleming airs Saturday, January 30 at 6:30 a.m. on the Discovery Channel.