Boy sets fishing tournament to raise funds for research on rare disease

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Hudson Falls, NY, United States (4E Sports) – Nine-year-old Jacob Barrows is organizing a fishing tournament to raise money for research into Chiari Malformation Type 1 disease, a condition that led to his brain surgery last February.

The event, which will be held March 1 at Million Dollar Beach in Lake George , is called “Jake’s Fishing For A Cure” and will have competitions for both adults and children.

Jacob’s mother, Tonya Smith-Barrows, admitted that she thought it was talk between his son and his six-year-old cousin Abby DeVito.

“At first we thought it was just talk, but after a couple of weeks he was still talking about it and had some major plans,” Smith-Barrows told the Post-Star News. “He planned the prizes, who was working it, and Jacob wanted to teach other kids how to ice fish.”

It was the second time that Smith-Barrows will organize a sports event to raise fund for research. Last year, she ran a softball tournament that raised $4,500 for research into the little-known disease that caused speech issues, chronic ear infections, vision problems and crippling headaches.

“It’s rare, and it was very hard to get a diagnosis,” said Smith-Barrows, adding that his son was Chiari, a structural defect in the brain, specifically in the cerebellum, when he was eight.

Smith-Barrows said there is no cure for the condition, but noted that last year’s brain surgery helped alleviate much of the pain.

“The difference has been amazing,” Smith-Barrows said. “He went from having four or five crippling headaches a week to having had just a couple since the surgery.”

Smith-Barrows said she was pleased with the quick response for donations from Nemec’s Sport Shop,, Arca Ink, Washburn Hill Construction, Timberline Builders, Super Smoke ‘n Save and Cooley’s Ice Cream.

Registration will be at 6 a.m. and fishing starts at 7 a.m. For adults, the entry fee $10. Children 14 and under will fish for free. All measurements will be done by 3 p.m., and all proceeds will go to Chiari research.

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