GODLEY PARK – At 9:45 a.m. Saturday, lawn chairs, upright fishing poles and families ringed the shores of the pond at K Mine Park.
They were getting ready for the Kids Derby at the Braidwood Station’s Fishing For A Cure event.
Michael Misura, 12, of Coal City comes to the pond to fish even when there isn’t a tournament, he said.
“I just like to hang outside,” he said as he reeled in his line after the event started.
He said he’s been fishing for about a year, after his uncle took him fishing for his birthday.
“I like being outside, and I like the excitement when I catch one,” Misura said.
He was at the event with his twin sister, Christina, and his mother, Tammy. Tammy said Michael also fishes at the pond near the Casey’s in Braidwood and does well at that pond too.
Having both a kids derby and a fishing tournament on the Braidwood Station cooling pond, funds raised for this year’s Fishing for a Cure event went to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities. The charity was chosen because of the help it gave the family of radiation technician Joe Shields.
Ava Triana, the 2-year-old daughter of Shields’ stepson, Chuck Triana, was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma. Triana said they found 80 percent to 90 percent cancer in her bone marrow and tumors throughout her body.
They began treatment at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, and now she’s part of a trial at the University of Chicago. Although the diagnosis was one of the worst to receive, Chuck Triana and Shields said her spirits have not been dampened.
“She’s a fighter,” Chuck Triana said.
During treatment, Triana said he and Ava’s mother, April, would spend days at the hospital. The Ronald McDonald Houses at both locations were there for them to get some rest.
“They gave us a chance to rejuvenate, nap or spend the night and be the best we could for Ava,” he said.
Braidwood Station has been holding the Fishing for a Cure event for
17 years and has raised more than $500,000 for local nonprofits. On Saturday, the Fishing for a Cure event brought in $55,000, communications manager Brett Nauma said.
Child anglers came from as far away as Plainfield and New Lenox.
Cody Nelson, 4, of Braidwood said he was coming to win trophies. Last year, he came out just for fun, but walked away with a couple of trophies and wanted a repeat.
“I fish other times at other lakes and ponds with my dad,” he said.
“Exelon is all about serving the community,” Braidwood Station site vice president Marri Marchionda-Palmer said. “Our employees are some of the most amazing folks we know.”
Exelon Generation covers the cost of the tournament, including a $10,000 prize for the adult tournament held on the cooling lake. This year, the tournament was emceed by Chauncey Niziol of ESPN Radio’s “Chauncey’s Great Outdoors.”
About 70 people showed up to participate in the tourney on the cooling lake, Nauman said.
At the lake, preparations began early. Jackson Lambert of Braidwood said he had to be at the lake at 6:30 a.m. Others had arrived before dawn and helped prepare and check in with people using flashlights.