IZOD IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay will use his love of deep sea sport fishing to help support cause near to his heart.
Hunter-Reay, an avid fisherman who grew up in South Florida, will serve as grand marshal of the Florida Fish for Life Sailfish Tournament off the coast of South Florida on Jan. 19-22. The tournament, now in its sixth year, supports people with colon cancer and raises awareness of early screening for the disease, which is the fourth-most common cancer in the United States.
"I've done a lot fishing in South Florida and it's a big part of my life, so this was a fun way to get involved with a cause that is very close and important to me," said Hunter-Reay, who serves as an ambassador for Racing for Cancer, a charitable organization founded in honor of his mother. "I want to do whatever I can, whenever I can, as much as I can for the fight against cancer, whether it's awareness or research."
In addition to his duties as grand marshal, Hunter-Reay will compete in both legs of the Palm Beach Double Shot, the Florida Fish for Life and the Buccaneer Cup Sailfish Release Tournament. He will appear at the Captain’s Meeting at the Buccaneer Restaurant and the Awards Dinner at the Sailfish Club of Palm Beach.
Participating in the tournament made sense for Hunter-Reay, whose mother Lydia, battled colon cancer before passing away late in 2009. When Ryan heard about Fred Miller’s parallel efforts through the Florida Fish for Life Sailfish Tournament, he decided to get involved personally.
“We found each other through mutual contacts. It made sense for us to combine our efforts. It’s a pretty big tournament for sailfish and billfish,” Hunter-Reay said. “It’s to benefit Racing for Cancer and funding cancer research. I’m entering myboat, and as a host, I need to do well. There’s a lot on the line.”
Miller, the tournament's founder, is a colon cancer survivor who started Fish for Life six years ago to help other people afflicted with the disease and raise awareness of early screening.
“We are thrilled to have one of racing’s great drivers involved in the Double Shot,” said Miller. “We hope it serves as yet another incentive to enter and fish with us this January. These are two very special tournaments that combine sport fishing history and friendly competition while generating funds for great works.”