July 7th to 15th, 2023
Fishing For A Cure: The biggest and best event to date!
July 15th marked the final day of competition for the 5th Annual Avalon Invitational Offshore Fishing Tournament with a gathering of participants, sponsors, and friends at the Avalon Marine Center. The 2023 event provided another data point showing the growth of the tournament in terms of net proceeds, growing from $8,000 in 2019 to over $63,000 donated to NF2 Biosolutions in 2023 through this event! That is $167,000 of total donations over the 5 years that the big-game fishermen of southern New Jersey along with the sponsors have been “Fishing For a Cure!”.
The tournament was established and is hosted by Kevin Dougherty, a lifelong friend of the Henwood family. AJ Henwood, the young man affected by Neurofibromatosis II and the driving force behind the creation of the event was not only a first-time participant in 2023, but he even finished in second place with his 101lb Yellowfin Tuna that he caught aboard the Bodacious. Sea Mistress took first by more than double with its jaw-dropping 269lb bigeye tuna. Congrats to the winners and thanks for donating your winnings back!
When contacted for comment, Dougherty simply stated that “it was a very good event – I want to do even better next year”. Dougherty is committed to raising additional funds in 2024, which he thinks can only happen through corporate sponsorship and growth in participation beyond the current 32 boats that
competed in 2023.
When not volunteering his time on behalf of AJ and other NF2 fighters, Kevin is a Supply Chain Strategy Leader at a New Jersey-based Pharmaceutical company. He has a passion for improving the quality of life for those with illnesses, so it is fitting that he spends part of his free time organizing sponsors, and participants, and ultimately managing the event.
For more sponsorship information or to help support the event, please reach out to Kevin at email@example.com.
Q&A with Kevin Dougherty, the founder of Avalon Invitational Offshore Fishing Tournament, Fishing for a Cure.
Q: What is your relationship with NF2?
Kevin: My connection to NF2 Biosolutions is Dr. Nicole Henwood (founder of the charity) and Andy Henwood. Their son, AJ, received a diagnosis in 2018, and as lifelong friends, I found this to be the best way to support them. I consider them family and my connection to this cause is direct.
Q: Tell me about your fundraiser.
Kevin: The Avalon Invitational is an annual offshore fishing tournament featuring 30 boats (and growing), 18 sponsors, and countless donors. Contestants target ‘big game’ fish such as Tuna, Wahoo and Swordfish to see who can catch the heaviest 3 fish combined during one day of fishing.
Q: Exciting! How does the tournament raise money?
Kevin: Fundraising comes from the contestants themselves who pay an entry fee, sponsors who support our cause with cash, services, & merchandise, proceeds from tournament t-shirt sales, and the generosity of people in and around the sport of Saltwater fishing. 2019 was the first year for the tournament and we raised $8000 for NF2 research. It has increased in size each year since and total donations generated by the event exceeded $100,000 by the end of the 4th year
Q: This sounds like a lot of work! Tell us about the commitment.
Kevin: I am still able to drive the fundraiser primarily on my own with some help from NF2 BioSolutions folks like Gilles Atlan and Nicole Henwood. While the time commitment is still significant, it is important to me to contribute to Andy, Nicole & AJ’s cause in a meaningful way. It is the generosity of friends and sponsors that inspires me to keep it going annually.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Kevin: The sponsors and donors need to be thanked. While I was inspired in the first year, I was overwhelmed in the second year with donations and sponsorships more than doubled year-over-year! My sponsors are primarily “shop local” types of businesses, but for anyone who wants to support or thank them for their contributions, their website contacts page is linked below. I am sure they’d love to hear from you all even if it is just to say thanks for supporting the tournament.
2023 Event Sponsors
BRANDYWINE DEVELOPERS, STERLING TACKLE, CHANNEL MARINE CONSTRUCTION, DH YACHT SALES, AVALON MARINE CENTER, BODACIOUS SPORT FISHING, CAREFREE BOAT CLUB, B SAFE ALARMS, BLUE WATER BOATS, SOUTH JERSEY YACHT SALES, BRIAN HOSKINS FORD, CHART HOUSE MARINE ELECTRONICS & OUTFITTING, PETTINARO, RUSSEL PLYWOOD, NORTHEASTERN EYE INSTITUTE, DOC BRESLER’S CAVITY BUSTERS, HANK SAUCE, STATE FARM – BOB SCITTINA, DALLAS INDUSTRIAL SERVICES INC, GUARANTEED RATE, PURDY REAL ESTATE, DAN BOWERSOCK GROUP