Three USF St. Petersburg freshmen have turned a class assignment into an opportunity to benefit cancer research. Savannah Billett, Hunter Schoch, and Garret Greca have organized Fishing for the Fight, a fishing tournament that will be held this Saturday, May 6. Proceeds from the event will benefit BeatNB, a nonprofit childhood-cancer group that drives neuroblastoma cancer research and awareness.
The 19-year-old students reside in the Leadership House Living Learning Community on campus. LLCs provide students with a chance to live, study, and learn with others who share an interest in leadership, biology, environmental science and sustainability.
As part of their leadership course, students are required to identify a challenge within the community and work with stakeholders to implement a solution.
“We decided to do a fishing tournament because Hunter and Garret eat, sleep, and breathe fishing, and I wanted to do something that would benefit cancer research,” said Billett, who has supported cancer research since seventh grade. Billett realized her passion for supporting cancer research after meeting Ezra Matthews, a local child who died of neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that occurs most often in infants and young children.
After meeting Matthews and his parents, Billett began making and selling bracelets at her school and holding restaurant fundraising events with her family to benefit their nonprofit foundation, Because of Ezra, now called BeatNB.
To create the tournament, Billett sought the guidance of Mike Anderson, who hosts radio shows and The Reel Animals Fishing Show on TV, and holds competitive fishing tournaments around the state.
“These kids are doing an amazing job,” said Anderson, who invited the students to speak about the tournament on 970 WFLA. “I host about seven charity events a year here in Tampa, and I would love to have these incredible young adults on any of our tournament committees. It takes a great deal of time and energy to pull off an event like this, and they should all be very proud of their efforts.”
Billett said the tournament has received donations of food, t-shirts, marketing materials, and tournament prizes from family, friends, and local businesses.
“Everything that we’ve gotten so far for this tournament has been donated by somebody,” said Billett. “That was our goal, so we wouldn’t take any of the proceeds from BeatNB to host the tournament.”
Visit the BeatNB website to learn more about the tournament.