Letter From The Founder
About three years ago, I was scanning social media and came across an organization that caught my attention. A well-known fisherman in Islamorada had donated his time to accompany Mission Fishin on their weekend fishing trip. As I scrolled through the photos, it intrigued me, and I immediately searched to find more information. The picture included a large group of children, some in wheelchairs, some not, other siblings and their families, but all catching fish and with HUGE smiles on their faces. As a member of the fishing industry, I thought to myself how there is nothing better than seeing a child excited about a catch! All the tournaments and record-setting events go out the door when you give a child the gift of the outdoors.
So, after I did my research, I spoke with my husband about how I wanted to reach out and see how we could help others. My husband and I own and operate a fishing charter fleet in Marathon, and although we have been through all kinds of obstacles since buying the business, I still felt like we were in a position to give back. I emailed the founder and asked, how can we help?
I exchanged a few emails with Tony Davis, and from there, we set a date and had the organization signed up to fish with us in the Florida Keys.
Tony's youngest son was born with Spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, cortical vision impairment, epilepsy, and guy motility disorder. Throughout his journey with his son, he didn't know if he would experience fishing and other activities with his youngest son as he did with his other children. This organization exists to get children, foster children, and their siblings and families on the water and have a great time and bring joy to their lives.
RJ Boyle, a very talented artist, businessman, and fisherman, connected with Tony and set up his family's first fishing opportunity with his youngest son, Joshua, and it was a success! This opened Tony's eyes, and he wanted to help other families experience what he had just witnessed with his son.
When our charter business donated trips, it was the best experience. We got all the kids, their siblings, and families loaded up and headed to the reef to catch Yellowtail Snapper, Mutton Snapper, Barracuda, etc. As soon as the boat left the dock, several of the children in wheelchairs smiled as they felt the movement of the ocean under them. The sea brought a sense of peace and relaxation to them that many of us can relate to. The trips also give the other children in the family the opportunity to have a fun family experience. Often, when a family has a sibling with a disability, a lot of time needs to be spent caring for that child. Bringing them along on the trip gives these siblings a much-deserved treat of a day.
Last year we were unable to fish with these children and their families due to the pandemic. Many of these children have compromised immune systems which is a significant risk factor with COVID-19. We are so excited to have them back this year, to take them fishing and look forward to providing you with updates next week.
So I hope you can help support Marathon Premier Sailfish Tournament as I created it to showcase the Captains, Mates, and Anglers we have here in the Keys and help excellent organizations like Mission Fishin'. By registering, participating, and donating, you are helping to make a difference in the lives of as many families as possible, and for that, I will be eternally grateful.
Stay tuned for our full fishing report and detailed day of fishing with some incredible kiddos! Lots of photos to follow as well!