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Pittwater Cares kids’ fishing day a success

IF laughter is the best medicine then fishing would have to be a close second. This thought played over and over in my head when I was lucky enough to spend the day recently fishing with some incredible kids and their families on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

Along with Tackle World’s Brett Wilson and Shimano’s Adrian Mikkelsen we joined up with “Pittwater Cares” a fantastic community initiative that works in conjunction with Ronald McDonald House Randwick and businesses and individuals in the Pittwater and wider community to provide unforgettable all expenses paid holidays for seriously ill children and their families.

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From left: Shimano’s Adrian Mikkelsen, Tackle World’s Brett Wilson and Chloe Taylor. 

The latest Pittwater Cares Holiday Program started on a Monday morning with a “Shimano Fishing Adventure”. The shoreline of Narrabeen lagoon was the setting for the adventure and although the day dawned wet and gloomy, the kids’ excitement could not be dampened. Casting lightly weighted prawns into the lagoon resulted in a host of small bream, whiting and even a stingray which joined the kids on the shore for a quick photo before release.

Adrian, Brett and myself were kept busy all morning baiting hooks, casting lines and releasing fish. Seeing the delight in the kids’ faces as they wound in a fish is something I will remember for a long time and for those few hours any thoughts of illness disappeared – they were just normal kids enjoying a fishing trip with their families.

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At the end of our fishing session the kids were given hats and stickers and were told they could keep the Shimano rod and reel that they had been using for the day. This caused quite a stir as they realised they could now go fishing whenever they like!

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We had lunch at the Collaroy Beach Hotel before the kids headed off for some more fun Ten Pin Bowling. The Pittwater Cares program is run by Mark Adams, Minister at Narrabeen Baptist Church, and a fantastic team of volunteers. Adams, himself a keen fisho, said of the program “Those with sick children will tell you, it is not only about the sick child but it is the whole family who sacrifices for each other when a child is seriously ill. To provide an opportunity for families to reconnect, laugh and play together is what Pittwater Cares is all about”.

And laugh and play together is what they did on this latest program, with many firsts achieved, including the first time some of the kids had fished, surfed and even been to the movies. One family summed it up by saying “we can’t believe the generosity of everyone, we will never forget this great week we have had. I’m sure this will never happen in our lives again”.

Seeing the fishing industry getting involved in community initiatives like this is fantastic, and something that we are seeing more and more of. The simple pleasure of wetting a line is something that many of us take for granted, and seeing the enjoyment that this fishing session brought the kids and their families really gave me some perspective on some of life’s other stresses. Along with Shimano I’m looking forward to continued involvement in the Pittwater Cares program and hope to see similar programs popping up in other areas as well!

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For more information or how you can get involved in the program you can contact Mark Adams at mark@pittwatercares.org.au

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