Grade 9 student Drew Eppler ties his first ever salmon fly, which will be one of many he will create for the ‘Flies for Jonah’ initiative. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Flies for Jonah: Carihi fly fishing class/club raising money for fellow Tyee with brain cancer

Hand-tied fishing flies are available at the school and Tyee Marine downtown

When Carihi teacher Nic Pisterzi was hit by the news of young Jonah Shankar’s rare cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment issues, he knew he had to do something. He just didn’t know what.

Pisterzi taught Shankar Grade 12 English.

“He was hard working, committed, and progressed a great deal as a student,” Pisterzi says. He was incredibly kind and respectful – someone you appreciated having in the classroom.”

It took some time, but an idea hit Pisterzi early one morning while having coffee with his wife.

“We were discussing all of the great initiatives and activities that were happening around the community already,” he says. “I mentioned maybe it might be a good idea to tie flies, sell them, and give the proceeds to the Shankar family.”

So he brought the idea forward to the fly fishing class and club at Carihi.

“We discussed who Jonah was, his current health struggle, and why it’s important to give back to community,” he says. “I told the group that it could happen to any of us, and if it was any of them, I would do something too.”

RELATED: Campbell River rallies around Jonah Shankar

It didn’t take much convincing.

“This class of fly fishing students was eager and excited to help out the former Tyee,” he says. “This bridged nicely with where we are in the fly fishing course. They’ve learned their casting, knots, and now, they are tying salmon flies. In fact, it was one of the international students from Japan, Taiichiro Kamio, who suggested we should sell them by donation, so people could have the opportunity to contribute more if they’d like to, for Jonah’s cause.

“Fast forward a bit and here we are, tying flies, organizing them into little fly boxes and ziplocs, and selling them by donation both at Carihi and Tyee Marine, who were in right away.”

Just a week or so into the “Flies for Jonah” campaign, the class has already received a donation by White Tide Sports for $400.00 over and above the sale of flies.

All donations collected at either Tyee Marine or the school will go directly to the Shankars, in hopes of them reaching the $350,000 needed for his international medical treatment in Europe, which as of Oct. 5 was over $225,000.

If you would like to support Shankar’s cause, here’s the direct link to the GoFundMe campaign.

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