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Fishing challenge to benefit Children’s Hospital Cancer Fund

By Staff | May 5, 2010

For the sixth year the Lee Memorial Health System Foundation is hosting the annual Ryan McCleskey Memorial Redfish Challenge.
Ryan and Kristin McCleskey founded the tournament after Ryan developed cancer and it continued after he died on Feb. 3, 2006.
He had been diagnosed with a form of cancer typically found in children, so when they organized the tournament the McCleskeys decided all of the proceeds would benefit Barbara’s Friends, the Children’s Hospital Cancer Fund.
“He was in the Navy and had a love for fishing,” said Duane Higgins, director of Major Gifts for the foundation. “We are very grateful that Kristin, over the years, has carried on the legacy of her husband and his love for fishing.”
The sixth annual challenge is set for Saturday, May 15, at the Marina at Cape Harbour.
Winners of the challenge are determined by combining the weight of their two biggest fish, and prizes worth $1,500 for first place, as well as $750 and $500 for second and third will be awarded.
Last year’s first place winners were David Vittur, Jeff Hansen, Justin Morrison and James Kirby from Vittur Construction.
Higgins said the event has raised more than $35,000 to help treat children with cancer in the five counties of Southwest Florida.
The outpatient center at The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida treats 500 visitors each month, and approximately 6,000 per year. Those who come to the hospital are being treated for pediatric cancer and other blood disorders. Barbara’s Friends also supports the eight-bed inpatient unit at The Children’s Hospital, he said.
Each year there are between 35 to 40 boats who register and participate in the challenge, said Higgins, and boats with three or four anglers pay $250 each.
Boat captains meet on Friday, May 14, at the Twisted Conch, on 837 S.E. 47th Terrace, for a Captain’s Meeting to discuss the challenge.
Some of this year’s sponsors for the Memorial Redfish Challenge include Cape Harbour, D&D Bait and Tackle, ScreenPrintPlus, Cape Tool and Tackle, and Marineco Suppliers.
For more information on the event or to register, visit RyanMccleskeyRedFishChallenge.com