BRACEVILLE, Ill. (May 24, 2022) – Constellation’s ‘Fishing for a Cure’ Tournament, held Sunday, May 22 on Braidwood Lake, raised more than $57,000 for Advocate Children’s Hospital, bringing the tournament’s 21-year fundraising total to more than $750,000.
As a long-time tournament volunteer and Braidwood Generating Station employee, Chris Boblak knows a great cause when he sees one. After a life-changing experience, he saw first-hand the impact the tournament’s fundraising had on charities and nominated Advocate Children’s Hospital as the 2022 beneficiary.
In January 2020, Chris’ son Dominic was admitted into Advocate Children’s Hospital with a serious illness. A child’s stay at the hospital can be scary, unpredictable, and stressful. And in Dominic’s case, during his month-long stay, he was quarantined, unable to attend school or interact with his friends or siblings.
Advocate Children’s Hospital, through its Creative Arts Therapies program, works to make these stressful times for children more tolerable. The children are entertained with games, art projects and even magic shows.
“The hospital staff was amazing,” Boblak said. “We were not only worried about Dominic’s well-being physically but also about the emotional toll the quarantine would have on him. The programs the hospital has to entertain the children during trying times make a tremendous difference.”
With the tournament proceeds, Advocate Children’s Hospital will be launching a virtual reality program using KindVR. KindVR creates customized virtual reality support and distraction for various procedures, coping with hospitalization, and pain management.
“Constellation delivered 'off the charts' results Sunday,” said Advocate Children’s Hospital Vice President of Development Doug Hutchings. “The virtual reality program will be a great addition to our Child Life, Creative Arts Therapies and Education Department and will have a significant impact on our patients and their families.”
“Our employees at Braidwood Station and Constellation are incredibly proud of this tournament and the positive impact it has on the community,” said Braidwood Station Acting Site Vice President Greg Gugle. “It’s amazing that an event that raised $3,500 in its first year has now raised more than three quarters of a million dollars for charity. The continued success of this event is only possible because of the dedication of our employees and the contributions of local businesses and organizations.”
A total of 71 two-person teams entered this year’s ‘Fishing for a Cure’ tournament. Josh Uthe and Kris Gaertner (both from Braidwood, Ill.) took home first place and the $4,000 top prize. Their three-fish total of 9.44 pounds was best in the tournament field.
Coming in second was Kevin Rebouche (Frankfort, Ill.) who caught 9.34 pounds for a second place finish this year and $2,500. Third place and $1,000 was snared by Byran Messier (Kankakee, Ill.) and Kyle Koch (Bradley, Ill.) with 9.01 pounds of bass. Seven other teams shared the remaining $2,500 in prize money.
ESPN’s Chauncey Niziol taped segments for his upcoming “Chauncey’s Great Outdoor” radio show from Braidwood Lake and served as tournament host.
Braidwood Station and several local sponsoring businesses and organizations made contributions to the event. All proceeds raised through tournament entry fees, employee fundraising initiatives and sponsorships go to the recipient charity, which is selected annually by station employees.
Organizations and businesses contributing included Allied Power, Belgio’s Catering, Berkot’s, Electrical Builders, Inc., Northern Illinois Steel, Pullman, Reactor Services, Inc., Siemens Energy and Structural Technologies.