Benefit scheduled Saturday at Somme’s Marina
Set for its ninth year of raising money to benefit those battling illness, the Fishing for Frankie tournament has become an event embraced by the community, and one that perfectly aligns with the ideals of its namesake.
This year’s tournament will be held Saturday at Somme’s Marina in Des Allemands, with proceeds to help offset medical expenses for Meghan Schexnayder, a Hahnville native who is battling the latest of multiple bouts with cancer.
The tournament was established nearly a decade ago to help Luling’s Frankie Champagne during his battle with cancer. He passed away after fighting bravely, but Champagne’s sister, Audrey Champagne Raziano, said the fact the event has continued on and received such great community support over the years is the most fitting tribute to her brother she could ever ask for.
“He was always so humble and he wanted to share,” said Raziano, who annually coordinates the event along with her family. “He’d say, ‘I can’t believe so many people are here for me, to help me.’ He’d tell us to take some of that money and help this other person who needed it, or these people who need it. This really represents his idea.
“It’s so humbling to us that so many people are still willing to help others, still willing to do it and to keep his memory alive … to honor his battle by keeping it going.”Schexnayder is in the midst of another bout with cancer since she was initially diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare pediatric type of bone cancer, five years ago at the age of 24.
She underwent treatment for a year and a half, including knee, femur, hip replacement and lung surgeries, before finding herself cancer-free. Nine months later, she suffered a relapse with cancer in her lung — after a successful surgery, she was cancer free a second time. She was diagnosed again in October of 2016, this time with cancer in her lungs. A third lung surgery was successful.
Her latest diagnosis revealed cancer in the bone of her arm. Raziano said she came across Schexnayder’s story after seeing a video the latter posted on Facebook, as Schexnayder shaved her hair as she prepared for treatment.
“We were at that time of year where we were looking for somebody (to help through the tournament) and I happened to see her video,” Raziano said. “A local family and a girl who could really use the help … we decided she’d be a great candidate.”
She said Schexnayder’s positive attitude in the face of so many challenges is nothing short of a true inspiration.
“It’s just amazing to see somebody so young, battling for so long and to have that positive bubbly attitude and outlook on life, especially being so young and having gone through so much,” Raziano said. “I reached out to her aunt and she got us in contact with Meghan. My niece spoke with her and the message relayed to us was she was really excited, honored and humbled so many people wanted to help her out.”
This will be the second year the tournament has been held at Somme’s Marina. Last year, a rainy day still saw 44 boats take to the water. This year, she hopes to see the tournament eclipse the 50 boat mark.
Check in begins at 4:30 a.m. Weigh-in is at noon.
Raziano added that even if someone doesn’t fish or has no plans to, there is plenty of reason for anyone to attend and contribute to a good cause.
“We have food, we have raffles … it’s not just a fishing tournament, it’s a fundraiser and a nice day out for the family,” she said.
For more information, contact Audrey Raziano at (985) 703-0135 or (985) 785-8411, or e-mail at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.