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Reel In A Cure To Cancer At Westport Fishing Event

WESTPORT, Conn. – Help raise money to find a cure for pediatric cancers Saturday during the fourth annual Saugatuck Cup charity fishing tournament, a catch-and-release event that takes place out on Long Island Sound and in and around Westport.

The tourney benefits the 9th Floor Foundation, a local nonprofit that has partnered with the Children’s Tumor Foundation and Memorial Sloan Kettering Pediatric Day Hospital to support scientific research of neurofibromatosis and pediatric can­cers. The tournament also provides financial assistance to the families of children battling these diseases.

Both the Saugatuck Cup and the 9th Floor Foundation were founded by Fairfield resident Matt Spengler, a Staples High School graduate whose son James was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, a rare tumor disease, at age 2. Eric Johnson, owner of the Saugatuck fishing store Westport Outfitters, helps Spengler run the tournament.

During the tournament, anglers fish for bluefish, striped bass and false albacore, and are awarded points for each catch. Participants can compete in one of three divisions: shore, fly-fishing and spinning rod, and must provide photographic evidence of their catches. Three winners will be named in each division.

The event will also include a post-tournament party featuring food, raffle prizes and a silent auction. People who’d like to support the 9th Floor Foundation but have no interest in fishing are welcome to attend the after-party for a $50 donation at the door, Johnson said.

At least $40,000 was raised during last year’s event, Johnson said. To date, the 9th Floor Foundation has raised over $125,000, he added.

The cost to participate in the tournament is $200 per person. That includes the after-party and a "captain’s bag" full of about $150 worth of fishing-related merchandise, said Johnson.

The tournament begins at 7 a.m. Saturday and runs through 3:30 p.m. The after-party begins at 4:30 p.m. at Westport Outfitters/All Seasons Marine Works, 609 Riverside Ave.

To fill out a tournament entry form or for more information, visit the Saugatuck Cup website . Forms are due no later than 7 p.m. Friday and can be mailed or hand-delivered to Westport Outfitters.

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