Local pitching in to help worthy cause

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Colin "Big C" MacGuire had never been fishing for red fish until last year in Orange Beach.

MacGuire caught a couple fish, but he also helped raise more than $1,000 for cystic fibrosis. MacGuire is heading back to the Gulf Coast in early July to try to land a lunker in addition to more money to help find a cure for a disease, cystic fibrosis, that has been deemed incurable.

Fellow University of Alabama graduate Tom Byars asked MacGuire to assist in the benefit tournament last year.

"He told me it was for a good cause, and it would be a lot of fun. He was right on both accounts," MacGuire said.

The Ken Stabler Alabama Coastal Celebrity Classic raised almost $80,000 last year, and Byars said he hopes to nearly double that amount this year.

Cystic fibrosis touched Byars almost 20 years ago when he was a assistant editor of Alabama Power magazine. He wrote a story about a little girl who had cystic fibrosis. Two months after her story was published he visited with the little girl. She died two weeks later.

"It made an impression on my that will affect me for the rest of my life," Byars said. "These kids never get cured. They have to live with it and suffer."

Alabama is home to one of only eight cystic fibrosis research centers in the country. So it is only fitting that Byars and MacGuire have championed the cause to raise money for research and possibly a cure.

Like last year, the tournament will have some stars of University of Alabama football participating. Head football coach Mike Shula will be joined with Ray Perkins, Tyler Watts, Ozzie Newsome, Wesley Britt and of course Kenny Stabler just to name a few.

The tournament will take place July 7-9 in Mobile Bay.

"Big C has been sympathetic to the cause, and I really hope we see the cure come from the state of Alabama," Byars said.

Those wishing to contact MacGuire to make a donation, can call 382-8476 or 799-4922.