BRACEVILLE, Ill. (June 1, 2009) - Exelon Nuclear and fishermen competing in the 2009 "Fishing for a Cure" tournament at Braidwood Lake raised $20,000 for the charity Autism Speaks on Saturday. In an event to raise money to help families dealing with autism, it was fitting that family teams represented the top three winners.
"Autism Speaks is honored to accept this donation from Exelon Nuclear," said Mary Rios of the Chicagoland Chapter of Autism Speaks. "Many people continue to face challenges presented by autism, and this wonderful gesture from those participating in Fishing for a Cure will help those people in their time of need."
A record-tying 92 two-person teams were entered in the eighth annual tournament. The father and son team of Andrew and Ron Lindstrom of Monee took home first place and the $4,000 top prize. Their three-fish total of 9.69 pounds was best in the tournament field. The duo also snared the day's biggest bass at 4.95 pounds.
Last year's winners Gerald Luehrs (Lansing) and John Luehrs (Manhattan) captured 8.74 pounds for a second-place finish this year and $2,500. Andrew and Mike Kiesling of Byron caught 8.64 pounds and took home $1,000 for third place. Seven other teams shared the remaining $2,500 in prize money.
Also part of this year's event was a children's fishing derby held at the Godley Park District pond. Sixty-five youngsters participated in the tournament. Winners in the 5-and-under group were Aydan Murphy (first), Jacob Plese (second) and Jennifer Babica (third). Tim Matecki won the 6- to 8-year-old division, followed by Emily Spicka and Savannah Soto. In the 9- to 12-year-old group, Marissa Soto (first), Abby Schlappi (second) and Nick Narine (third) took home the honors.
ESPN Radio's Chauncey Niziol was the tournament host for both the bass tournament and the children's fishing derby. Lee Kuusisto of American Bass Anglers was the tournament judge.
"Our employees at Braidwood Station and Exelon Corporation as a whole are proud to be able to help a wonderful charity like Autism Speaks," said Braidwood Site Vice President Bryan Hanson. "The continued success of this event is possible because of the dedication of our employees and the contributions of local businesses and organizations."
Braidwood Station and several local sponsoring businesses and organizations donated the prize money and contributed to other tournament costs. All proceeds raised through tournament entry fees, raffles and sponsorships go to the recipient charity, which is selected annually by station employees.
Several local organizations and businesses contributed to the success of the event:
American Bass Anglers
Berkot's Super Foods
Berwyn Marine Center
Braidwood Station Diversity Council
Godley Park District
Sargent and Lundy
In its eight-year history, Exelon Nuclear's "Fishing for a Cure" has raised more than $130,000 for charity. Previously charities benefiting include the Beth Ann Miller Foundation in its fight against Bacterial Meningitis (2002 - $5,000), the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation - Chicago Chapter (2003 - $7,500), the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Center (2004 - $13,000), the Multiple Sclerosis Society (2005 - $16,000), the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Illinois (2006 - $20,400), CURE - Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (2007 - $21,000) and FAAN - Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (2008 - $27,400).
The goal of Autism Speaks is to change the future for all who struggle with autism. Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that impairs a person's ability to communicate and relate to others and typically lasts throughout a person's lifetime. Today, one in 150 children are diagnosed with autism. Autism Speaks raises money to fund new research to uncover the cause, help with prevention and treatments, and find a cure for autism.