Hooked on Hope, Inc., a non-profit organization, was founded in 2009 out of Apollo Beach, Florida.This grass roots organization, managed entirely by a team of talented, dedicated volunteers, serves the breast cancer patients of Tampa Bay in a number of creative and effective ways.
The organization began when two sisters, Captain Lori Deaton and Mary Ostien, could not find any fishing tournaments benefiting local breast cancer programs. So the sisters combined Lori’s expertise as a professional fishing guide and Mary’s background in oncology care and education to do something for breast cancer patients in the Tampa Bay communities. Together, with the support of an Executive Committee and many other hard-working volunteers, a first-rate local inshore fishing tournament was created! Although the fishing tournament is the primary source of funding for the organization, monies are also raised through several smaller events and donations from generous supporters throughout the year. To date, nearly $300,000 has been raised!
Proceeds benefit the University of South Florida (USF) Breast Health Program under the leadership of Dr. Charles E. Cox. Thanks to Dr. Cox, Program Director, and his dedicated team of medical professionals, patients are swiftly and precisely diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. The team works collaboratively to provide state-of-the-art care using advanced technology and equipment in an environment where compassion, kindness, and hope are the mainstay of healing. Hooked on Hope funds are used to purchase biopsy needles, post-surgical garments, and lymphedema sleeves for approximately 200 un and under insured breast cancer patients annually. This year, a ‘treatment support fund’ was added to the offerings which helps breast cancer patients and their families pay for medically needed expenses such as prescriptions or office and hospital visit co-pays and living expenses.
The second weekend of each October, Hooked on Hope hosts an Annual Inshore Fishing Tournament at the Magnuson Hotel and Marina Cove in St. Petersburg, Florida. The weekend event kicks off the Friday evening with a stunning Silent Auction and Reception. On Saturday, forty to fifty boats with licensed, insured captains take 140 or more anglers to catch and release snook, trout, and redfish. The fishing venue is the gorgeous Gulf of Mexico and the backdrop the Skyway Bridge. While anglers are reeling in fish, breast cancer patients and survivors revel in a special day of pampering that includes makeovers and massages. An anonymous donor makes it possible for 60 breast cancer patients and survivors to be ‘pampered’ for the day in the comfort of the Magnuson Hotel Ballroom.
The mission statement of Hooked on Hope is “Making a world of difference right here in the TampaBay communities.” The organization is committed to making a difference in the lives of breast cancer patients and their families for many years to come.
Hooked on Hope, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization * EID #26-1986514