TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As the sun went down Saturday night, Jake Klopfenstein was the captain of the zombie fishing boat at the 3rd Annual National Pediatric Cancer Foundation.rd Annual Halloween Light-Up Boat Parade presented by the Freedom Boat Club of Tampa Bay.
The Halloween-themed boat parade raises funds to support the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation’s mission to develop better treatments for children with cancer.
“We chose it because we’re all fishermen in my family and we thought it would be pretty creative to go with the Halloween theme of being zombies,” Klopfenstein said. The Plant High School junior told 8 On Your Side why he cares so much about helping pediatric cancer patients.
“When I was younger I had a friend named Ryan who was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma at a fairly young age and I noticed he never played around with us,” Klopfenstein said. .
After his friend died following a battle with bone cancer, Klopfenstein started his own nonprofit at the age of 12. He said the goal of “Fish for reliefis to offer pediatric cancer patients a therapeutic diversion through fishing.
“And we know that fishing is something that really calms you down and completely changes your mindset for the better and we thought what better way to make those kids feel better than to teach them how to fish,” said Klopfenstein.
One of the programs involves dropping off dry-fishing kits for children in their hospital rooms.
“We actually had patients playing with their fishing rods while receiving chemotherapy,” Klopfenstein said.
Other events bring children with cancer and their families into the water.
“Bring them in with volunteers, give them bait, rods, everything,” Klopefstein said. “Just let them fish, let them be children. Nobody asks why they have scars or why they have a leg brace or anything and we just try to make them feel like normal kids.
Angling for Relief is holding its next fishing event on a seawall at Madeira Beach on the morning of Saturday November 12th.