Lori Sumner’s family started the Alexstrong Foundation to support other families after her son passed away from cancer.

The Alexstrong Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports families with children facing life-threatening illnesses, is hosting the sixth annual Benefit Bass Tournament. This year’s tournament will help 3-year-old Cooper Wingate, who was diagnosed with pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia last year.

The Bass Tournament will take place out of Grape Hammock Fish Camp at Lake Kissimmee where Alexstrong supporters and fishermen will catch up to six bass and participate in the weigh-in at 2 p.m. After the weigh-in, competitors and guests will have the option of entering a raffle for baskets that will be put together by Alexstrong Founder Lori Sumner. Many of the basket items are fishing and hunting themed, but Sumner raffles off other items, like purses, for supporters that may not be as interested in the tournament.

“Even if you are not fishing the tournament, a lot of people will come around noon and hang out and buy raffle tickets,” said Sumner. “Most of our donations really just come from the community … people donate money, and we give it directly to [the family].”

The Alexstrong Benefit Bass Tournament is accepting individual and company sponsorships, and the money donated will go to purchasing raffle items and supporting Cooper’s family during his treatment.

The Alexstrong Foundation’s fishing tournament first took place in 2017. Larry Walls, Sumner’s brother-in-law, hosted the first tournament to support Sumner’s family as her son, Alex, battled a brain tumor. Alex passed away shortly after his 14th birthday, but Sumner wanted to create a foundation to help families fighting similar battles and to honor her son.

“It means that Alex gets to live on; people are saying his name and wearing shirts in his memory and sharing his story. He was one of a kind, straight A student, amazing big brother, so generous and respectful, just an all-around amazing kid,” said Sumner.

For the fishing tournament, the entry fee is $60 per boat and a big bass pot is $10 per boat. A $5 ramp fee will need to be paid at Grape Hammock’s office. For more details on the rules of the tournament, visit their Facebook page or contact Larry Walls at 813-731-3112.

To become a sponsor or make a donation, contact Sumner at 813-493-2557. For more information on the Alexstrong Foundation’s story or Cooper Wingate, visit their Facebook page @alexstrongfoundationinc.

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Lily Belcher
Lily Belcher is a writer for the Osprey Observer. She started as an intern in the summer of 2020 and has continued to write for the Osprey Observer since completing her internship. Lily is majoring in mass communications at the University of South Florida and is a staff writer for the university’s paper, The Oracle. She enjoys writing about local nonprofit organizations and community role models who have made an impact on her hometown.