After longtime Ponte Vedra Beach resident Doug Carroll was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2004 and ultimately died, his son Jordan decided to make a difference.
Alongside his friend Matt Hahnemann, Jordan launched in 2006 Anglers for a Cure, an organization that spreads awareness about the importance of colonoscopy screenings and benefits the Borland Groover clinics. These clinics help those struggling with colon cancer and even provide financial assistance for those who can’t afford to get screened.
Anglers for a Cure’s primary fundraising vehicle is its annual fishing tournament. The organization’s 13th annual tournament will be held Sept. 28 at the Vilano Beach Boat Ramp. The event averages around 40 to 50 boats, plus kayaks and approximately 200 people in attendance. According to Carroll, the tournaments have raised over $1000,000. Carroll calls his fishing tournament a “niche” tournament since competitors must have their own boat or kayak to participate.
“I keep using that term because with a walk or run or things like that, almost anybody can do it,” Carroll explained. “So it has been kind of a difficult project.”
But with the rise of social media and help of the community, Carroll said he’s seen a significant increase in event awareness and participation in the last three years.
“It’s really been a turn for us, and we have not looked back since.” he said. “The cause is only continuing to grow.”
With the rise of participation comes a rise of spectatorship. Carroll added that there will also be plenty to do for those who aren’t participating in the tournament, but still want to come out and support the cause. The event will include food and live music.
Anglers will also be hosting a Captain’s Dinner the night before the event. A prize drawing will be held in which guests have a chance to win kayaks and other prizes. Aside from the food and fun, what really matters most to Carroll is that the community comes together to support the Anglers for a Cure cause.
For those who aren’t interested in competing, but want to help with the cause, Anglers for a Cure is searching for volunteers and sponsors for the tournament.
“Whether its monetary or just lending a hand and carrying coolers, as small as it is, we just need the extra help,” he said.
He also mentioned how grateful he is for the help Anglers for a Cure has received thus far, especially from St. Johns County Parks and Recreation for allowing the organization to operate in Vilano Beach.
“It’s just a win-win partnership,” he said. “We are nothing without the community’s support.”
The biggest thing Carroll wants his community to take with them, whether attending the event or not, is that it’s never too late to get checked for colon cancer.
“People tend to put it off like it’s really not a big deal,” he explained, adding that early screening and detection are extremely significant and can save lives. “The whole push with colon cancer is if you have any type of minor symptoms in early detection screenings, they (doctors) can go in there and remove things (tumors, etc.) and you’re good to go. Whereas if it’s detected too late, the cancer can really take over.”
Carroll lost his father shortly after the inaugural fishing tournament in 2006, but his legacy lives on through the Anglers for a Cure foundation.
“He (my father) was actually diagnosed through the Borland Groover Clinic based there in Jacksonville, Florida, so all our proceeds go to their foundation for research and education.”