I am looking forward to spending the day on a boat in the beautiful Chesapeake Bay this Friday.
There is nothing like being on the water with good friends, relaxing and hopefully, catching some fresh Rockfish. Yet I cannot help but be reminded as to why I will be out on the Bay. My thoughts will turn to Austin, who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2014. Until then, he had been a pretty normal teenager who loved fishing. During the past three years, Austin and his family participated in more than 25 activities with Casey Cares, including a special fishing trip this past November. Arranged and donated by Brady Sweitzer, who owns Casey Michelle Charters, Austin and his family had an incredible time on the water.
For a few hours, he was not thinking about his pain. For a few hours, he was focused on fishing. For a few hours, he was in his happy place.
For many of our families at Casey Cares, their days are a constant worry. They are shuttling kids to and from doctors' appointments, to the hospital or to the pharmacy for new medications. Casey Cares provides our families with an escape, a way to enjoy those little moments that make childhood so special. For Austin, being on the water with Captain Brady was his moment in time.
Sadly, Austin succumbed to cancer last month, just four days before his 17th birthday. His family told us that he was wearing the T-shirt Captain Brady gave him the day he passed. What an impact a moment can have on so many lives.
For those of you who participated in our first Rockfish tournament last year, you know how special this event is, both in and out of the water, and I cannot express ow excited I am to return. John Sovero has done a tremendous job organizing this event. We simply cannot do the kind of work we provide for 800+ families each year without fundraisers like this Rockfish Tournament.
And while they are fun, we know when we return to our offices we will once again roll up our sleeves, preparing to provide more little moments and lasting memories for kids like Austin and their families. So it is with a heavy heart that I head out onto the water Friday, but do know how special all of these moments are and continue to be.