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Gladstone group hatches fish-off to fight cancer

Fish for Life Derby this weekend will raise money for ovarian cancer

Fishermen - grab your poles and prepare to go to Clackamette Park and fish to fight cancer.

The Second Annual Fish for Life Derby, sponsored by the Gladstone-based Sherie Hildreth Ovarian Cancer Foundation, kicks off on Saturday, April 5, at 6 a.m., and ends with a weigh-in between 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Hildreth, a sixth-grade teacher at Walter L. Kraxberger Middle School in Gladstone, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in October of 2004, and underwent a full hysterectomy and sessions of chemotherapy.

In 2005, she, her friend Susie Brooks and several other women started the SHOC Foundation that aims to raise public awareness of ovarian cancer, fund research for early detection and find a cure.

The organization sponsors a run through Gladstone every summer, in addition to the fishing derby. All money raised by both events goes to ovarian cancer research.

Milwaukie resident Duane Kitzmiller is one of the organizers of the derby mostly because, he said, when Brooks spoke to the Steelheaders last year, he raised his hand to volunteer to help, and 'one thing led to another.'

He added, 'I was a manufacturer's rep. for fishing tackle and marine electronics for more than 30 years, so I have connections with lots of fellows, and I've been able to go to them for help.'

His connections this year have enabled the SHOC foundation to raffle off an $8,000 Willie drift boat and custom cover, and plenty of other items for people to bid on during the silent auction.

'No one goes away empty handed,' Kitzmiller said.

Big fish win big prizes

Anglers will be fishing for salmon, mostly in the Willamette and Columbia rivers, and prizes will be awarded by official weight of the fish.

'Dan Schwartz, a Gladstone resident and ex-biologist, will be the weighmaster - he'll have the final say,' Kitzmiller noted.

He also added that the fish caught must be 'hatchery-raised, fin-clipped salmon,' and fishermen must 'let native ones go back into the water.'

Organizers are hoping for about 100 participants, and spectators are more than welcome, Kitzmiller said.

The barbeque begins at 2:30 p.m. and continues throughout the afternoon.

Hobart Manns will be doing all the cooking, and the food was donated by various food companies, Kitzmiller said.

He added that Manns has a radio program entitled 'Angler Outback' on KPAM every Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m., and 'a lot of sportsmen listen to him.'

Kitzmiller describes his work with the fishing derby as 'a lot of fun and very gratifying.'

People should come to the event, he said, because 'it is for a good cause and all of the money goes to OHSU' to support a cure for ovarian cancer.

Hildreth, he said, is 'a delightful lady, who is well-known in the area. She's having some [cancer] treatments again, but she looks like a million dollars.'

He said they've had 'some pretty good sign-ups' for the derby, but hopes more people turn out, for what he calls a 'good, worthy cause.'

Fast Facts

Second Annual Fish for Life Derby, sponsored by the Sherie Hildreth Ovarian Cancer Foundation

April 5, from 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at Clackamette Park

The event includes a raffle, silent auction and barbeque

Cost: pro guide division, $150 per angler; and amateur division, $50 per angler.

Visit the Web site at www.shocfoundation.com for more details on how to buy raffle tickets for the Willie handcrafted drift boat. Ticket prices are one for $6 and two for $10. The winner does not need to be present to win.

Call 503-799-0368 or 503-810-5535 for more information.

Mail checks to: SHOC Foundation, PO Box 327, Gladstone, OR 97027