ISLAMORADA, In-The-Florida Keys – When was the last time you heard of a disease on the cusp of being cured? There is one, cystic fibrosis, and the Redbone, a small fishing tournament that began nearly 25 years ago in the Florida Keys, has made a huge contribution in helping genetic researchers close in on “catching a cure for CF.”
The Redbone is celebrating its 24th annual “Fruits of our Labors” BBQ cookout, for the hard work and money raised through its 2011 series of tournaments for CF research. It takes place Saturday, May 12th, from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Lorelei beach near mile marker 82 bayside.
“And for the seventh straight year we’ll be presenting a check for over $1 million to the CF Foundation,” said Redbone founder Capt. Gary Ellis, “raised from last fall’s Redbone trilogy of Keys tournaments — plus 25 other Redbone fishing events in the Keys, across the U.S. the Bahamas and Mexico, bringing awareness to the genetic disease and our great Keys spirit.
“It’s indeed a celebration as it comes about after a recent breakthrough announcement that the FDA approved a pill that controls a CF gene mutation affecting a small population (4%) of patients with the life-threatening illness. We may be just a couple of years away from the drug that cures a broader number — some 80% of the CF victims — but it’s a huge step that will be life-changing for so many patients and their families.”
BBQ cookout, boat and trip raffles, live music and more
The BBQ cookout will be offered to the first 100 people at $15 per person or is free when making a $100 donation for a super raffle ticket which benefits CF Research.
The super raffle drawing will be held at sunset for a Dragonfly Boatworks 16-ft. Emerger center console skiff complete with a 50 hp Evinrude outboard and trailer. Ticket holders need not be present to win. There will also be a silent auction and live entertainment by Big Richard and the Family Fun Band.
A second raffle for $50 is being offered for a nine day Adventure of a Lifetime travel package at the Crocodile Bay Resort in Puerto Jimeniz, Costa Rica. “It’s for four people and includes five days of fishing, two days of eco tours, beach or spa, domestic air fare, luxury accommodations and gourmet meals at Crocodile Bay a total value of $25,000,” said Ellis.
Tickets are available at The Redbone Gallery on Morada Way at MM 81.5 or at the Lorelei Cabana Bar. For more info call 305-664-2002, or go online to www.redbone.org .
So far $16+ million for CF research “to catch the cure”
Since the inception of the Redbone in 1988 the Fla. Keys charity has raised $16 million and despite the downturn in the economy has held a steady pace of raising over $1 million annually for the past seven years.
The Redbone (REDfish and BONEfish) began as a small local Keys tournament to help CF patients like Gary and Susan Ellis’ young daughter Nicole. The late Baseball Hall of Fame slugger Ted Williams, then an Islamorada resident, inspired the Ellis’ and helped to attract many of his celebrity friends. Through the efforts of guides, anglers, sponsors and volunteers they raised $16,000 at that first event. Within four years it had grown into a series of three fall tournaments throughout the Keys.
By the mid ‘90s the Redbone tournaments began growing into four distinct series; the original Redbone points trilogy in the Keys, the Redbone Red*Trout series in five southeastern coastal cities, the Redbone’s Bahamas Celebrity Bonefish series, and the [email protected] events crisscrossing the U.S., Bahamas and Mexico for a wide variety of fish species.
Anglers fishing as a team or with a celebrity are professionally guided for a select group of game fish in the local waters which they catch, photograph and release. The events, usually held on a weekend, also feature live and silent auctions.
This year at many of the 29 sites around North America, volunteers from CF chapters will help host the Redbone formatted tournaments under the guidance of the Ellis’. The list of more CF chapters wanting tournaments continues to grow. Redbone officials are hoping that all the fishing events combined will continue to raise over $1 million for CF research.
“Cystic fibrosis is a horrible genetic disease causing the body to produce abnormally thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and can lead to life-threatening lung infections,” said Susan Ellis. “When we started the Redbone the life expectancy of CF patients was the early teens. But researchers have performed remarkable strides in gene research. CF patients are now living into their mid 30’s. Though researchers are close, there is still no cure, and the work is not complete until that cure is found.”