APOLLO BEACH — Seven years ago, sisters Lori Deaton and Mary Ostien were sitting around chatting, when they came up with a way to help women battling breast cancer.
“(Hooked on Hope) began as a conversation between (us) sharing what I had seen over the years working with Dr. Charles Cox and his breast cancer patients,” Ostien said. “While there were many successes, there were also many heartbreaking situations, and Lori came up with an idea for a fishing tournament to raise funding.”
Deaton, an Apollo Beach resident and local charter captain, proposed Hooked on Hope to benefit the USF Breast Health Program under Cox’s leadership. To date, the effort has raised nearly $200,000 for women in Hillsborough County who have undergone mastectomies.
“None of the money we’re raising goes to research,” Ostien said. “It goes to direct patient care for items women need (before and) after surgery.”
These include paying for biopsies, buying post-op, medically necessary surgical garments, lymphedema sleeves and more.
A program introduced in April 2014, it awards cash grants of $500 to $1,500 to support uninsured or under-insured women going through breast cancer treatment. Patients may use the funds to buy groceries, pay utility bills and cover housing costs, prescriptions and office and hospital co-pays. For information, call (813) 531-5683 or (813) 967-5032.
Hooked on Hope began in 2008. The following year it became a 501(c) 3 organization founded by the two sisters. The tournament is held the second weekend of October each year.
This year’s event — the 7th Annual Hooked on Hope Inshore Fishing Tournament, Silent Auction and Pamper Party — is set for Oct. 9 and 10. It’ll take place at the Magnuson Hotel & Marina Cove, 6800 Sunshine Skyway Lane, St. Petersburg.
The fun will begin with a silent auction, plated dinner and reception Friday evening, to be followed by catch-and-release fishing for trout, snook and redfish in Tampa Bay and its tributaries on Saturday. While more than 150 anglers head out from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with up to 50 licensed charter boat captains, breast cancer patients and their guests will be treated to breakfast with Cox and a day of makeovers and massages. The Pamper Party includes a healing arts pavilion, motivational speakers, light exercise movement breaks and more.
An awards party from 3 to 6 p.m. with live entertainment by the Buddy Fitz Band will follow the day’s activities.
Entry fees are $1,500 per boat of three anglers, $2,000 per boat of four and $500 for individuals. Included in the cost are a captain and boat; fishing equipment and bait; reception and dinner; meals and onboard beverages; tournament shirt, visor and goodie bag; and the awards banquet.
“The gratitude and pride I feel about the hard work our amazing committee members have poured into this year’s upcoming event can’t be measured by words,” Deaton said.
To sign up for the tournament or Pamper Party or for additional information, visit www .hookedonhope.org.