Friends and Neighbors

Fishing tournament raises money for charity

 
 
The third annual University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame Celebrity Dolphin Tournament raised funds for good causes. At the recent check presentation, University of Miami President Donna Shalala, center, is joined by Hall of Fame President K.C. Jones, Marc Buoniconti of The Miami Project, Jack Niedbalski of Habitat for Humanity of the Upper Keys and John Routh, Hall of Fame Executive Director.
The third annual University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame Celebrity Dolphin Tournament raised funds for good causes. At the recent check presentation, University of Miami President Donna Shalala, center, is joined by Hall of Fame President K.C. Jones, Marc Buoniconti of The Miami Project, Jack Niedbalski of Habitat for Humanity of the Upper Keys and John Routh, Hall of Fame Executive Director.
Elena Schaffer

Special to The Miami Herald

It wasn’t a lazy “gone fishing” kind of summer day when the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame held its third annual Celebrity Dolphin Tournament at The Post Card Inn in Islamorada. There were 92 boats in the competition to raise funds for good causes, and the winning dolphin, caught by Mike Vera, weighed in at 43.6 pounds.

Ray Lewis, legendary Hurricane and retired star linebacker of the Baltimore Ravens, hosted the successful fishing event. And at a recent reception, tournament organizers were able to present checks of $4,000 each to The Miami Project and to Habitat for Humanity of the Upper Keys.

Funds also went to help the university’s Sports Hall of Fame, a non-profit organization with the mission “to honor the finest Hurricanes student-athletes, coaches and administrators who have excelled in their sport and brought acclaim to the University through their championships and accomplishments.”

The whopping turnout made the dolphin-fishing event the largest tournament in the Florida Keys, said John Routh, the Hall of Fame’s executive director. He said more than 75 Canes legends attended and enjoyed the festivities, which included the band Live Bait, musician Kevin Hurley, fire dancers and a junkanoo band.

The Bucket of Bucks pool was claimed by the boat Gotta Love It with a combined three dolphin total haul of 84.2 pounds. Top Female Angler was Tracy Kerdyk with a dolphin weighing 29.3 pounds and the Top Junior Angler was Tommy Smith with a 19.4 pound catch. Keith Provin was named the King of Fishes with a 51.4 pound wahoo.

The Sports Hall of Fame is open free to the public weekdays from noon to 5pm. Check out www.umsportshalloffame.com for more details. It’s located on UM’s Coral Gables campus at 5821 San Amaro Dr.

BABA’S BUNCH FOUNDATION

Alzheimer’s patients and their families can now look to the new Baba’s Bunch Foundation for help and information. Tony Friguls, whose wife Maria was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 55 eight years ago, recently established the fundraising group and wants to spread the word.

The mission of the new foundation is to raise awareness about different Alzheimer’s related issues; sponsor fundraising drives; source support for caregivers; distribute goods such as diapers, wipes, vitamins and more to suffering families in need; and sponsor grants to help in the daycare for individuals lacking support.

The walking team of Baba’s Bunch has already been a very successful fundraising group. At the 2008 Memory Walk for Alzheimer’s in Miami-Dade County more than 450 friends and family supported the team. It continued to grow and be the largest team at the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s events.

The name “Baba” is often given to a beloved grandparent and it is what the Friguls grandchildren call their grandmother.

“It is impossible for anyone to fully understand the human suffering experienced by a caregiver unless you have been there in the trenches caring for someone you love with Alzheimer’s,” Friguls said.

“There are over 80,000 Babas in our community suffering with Alzheimer’s, and if we consider that each Baba could probably have four to five relatives or friends, this means that there could be as many as 400,000 people affected from Alzheimer’s in our neighborhoods,” he said.

Friguls said Baba’s Bunch Foundation was recently chosen as the only beneficiary of the sold-out golf tournament in memory of Mike Sena, Sr. who passed away from Alzheimer’s at the age of 65 four years ago. The Mike Sena Memorial Foundation will host the second annual golf classic at the Trump National Doral Miami on Sept. 27.

“It’s a real privilege and honor that such a classic event, established in tribute and memory of Mike Sena’s father, has chosen Baba’s Bunch Foundation as the recipient of all net proceeds of this special event,” Friguls said. “Mike Sena Jr. learned the difficult way what it means to care for a person with Alzheimer’s as he fought a long and difficult battle during six years with his father until he passed at the young age of 65.”

Friguls said Alzheimer’s disease is currently the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and “the only cause of death among the 10 leading causes without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression.”

He is hoping the new community-based advocacy group will provide real support to those suffering with Alzheimer’s. He said helping him establish the new Baba’s Bunch Foundation are Norma Trabanco, Mike Sena, Mayra Poldo, Maria Orret, Dr. Juan C. Ramirez, Siu-Kin Perez, Yunesky Fornaris and Lazaro Pereda.

To help out you can contribute a check donation to the golf tournament made out to the Mike Sena Memorial Foundation, 10107 SW 93rd Pl., Miami, FL 33176. To help the new Baba’s Bunch Foundation, donations can be mailed to Baba’s Bunch Foundation, Attention: Tony Friguls, 1131 Manati Ave., Coral Gables, FL 33146.

You can also find out more by writing info@babasbunch.org or calling 305-456-1306. The new website about to launch is at www.babasbunch.org.

AID FOR CHILDREN

Continuing its commitment to community leadership through philanthropy, the southeast offices of privately held real estate firm Transwestern recently made a $50,000 donation in support of its charity partner Make-A-Wish.

In the first half of this yearlong initiative, the firm raised enough funds to grant 10 "wishes" to children battling life-threatening illnesses.

As part of their fundraising efforts Transwestern employees participated in a friendly office competition that encouraged charitable stewardship throughout the firm. All funds will go toward helping to come true the dreams of area children to be someone, meet someone, travel somewhere, or have something.

Transwestern’s mission is “to provide value for others, and, for the company, giving back to the community’s youngest citizens who are desirous of hope is one of the most rewarding ways to accomplish that goal.”

For more on how you can help children with life-threatening illnesses by donating or volunteering, visit www.sfla.wish.org.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at ChristinaMayo05@aol.com.

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