As many ideas do, this one came to me while laying in bed one night. You’ll have to bear with me as there is a bit of a backstory. Although you may think that most anglers are morning people, I am actually quite the opposite. I often struggle to get up when my alarm goes off. Excitement, inspiration, and ideas keeps me awake most nights with the lack of sleep hitting me pretty hard upon waking. Most of my ideas (for stories, projects, fishing trips) come to me when I should be getting rest. It’s a crazy cycle but I feel thankful for each day I am given on this earth as everything can change in an instant. We can’t take any of our time for granted.
On Christmas Day, a special person in the Ontario fishing community, named Ben McWhinney, suffered a heart attack while playing Lego with his 7-year-old son, Ty. Ben had a tough time. He was in a coma and also battled an infection. He amazingly made it through it all and is now on the long road to recovery. We are all so thankful that Ben has a second chance to continue on enjoying life with his wife Debbie, and their son, Ty.
Fishing connects us all in amazing ways, and I’m thankful that Ben and Debbie were among some of the first to show me just how special that connection can be. In 2010 I was working at my very first trade show, the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show, when I met this family. I had just landed on the cover of Bass-Man Magazine (my first cover shot). Ben and Debbie along with their baby, Ty, approached me with a copy of the magazine to ask for an autograph and photo. I had tears in my eyes because I really didn’t expect it. They definitely made an impression on me with their kindness and it was only the beginning.
Although we usually only see each other during the show season since we live far apart, we have thankfully been able to keep in touch through social media over the years. Both Ben and Debbie have been so supportive since I began to share my fishing adventures. I enjoy seeing them each year and getting to catch up. They are the type of people who lift others up and always have kindness to share. Not to mention they have a huge passion for fishing and everyone in this industry.
Ben’s long road to recovery includes 6 months without working or driving. The fishing community has come together to support them through donations on this GoFundMe page as well as this Facebook auction. I wanted to think of a special way to help out, and had some other ideas in mind as well to help local conservation organizations. The idea was born late one night and it would allow me to help both! My video below explains my contribution and what it is I have been working on. I hope you can help as any amount will make a difference. Here is a direct link to my smallmouth canvas print up for auction.
You can learn more about my prints by clicking here. Thank you to all that have shared the video so far and to everyone that has helped out this family! I know they are very appreciative!
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