Event is in memory of Alice native teen

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

A fishing tournament benefit for the Make-A-Wish Foundation will take place on Saturday in memory of 14-year-old Marco Pena, who died from cancer in August 2000.

About a dozen officers from the Jim Wells County sheriff's department, Alice Police Department and the Department of Public Safety will take part in the tournament.

"Whenever it comes to family, especially law enforcement family, we try to help out," said Lt. Joe Martinez with the sheriff's department. "We do whatever we can to help."

The fishing tournament is scheduled from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Bluffs Landing Marina and Lodge located on 4242 Laguna Drive in Corpus Christi. Contestants must register before the start of the tournament. Registration begins on Friday at 6 p.m. at the Bluff's Landing. Entry fee is $40 for adults and $20 for children 12 and under. All registered children with a measured fish will receive an award.

Contestants must be in line by 2 p.m. at the weigh station located at Bluff's Landing.

All fish must be caught on rod and reel only. Prizes include first and second places for longest redfish and longest trout. The winners will receive fishing reels.

Proceeds will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation in memory of Pena, an Alice native.

Marco's life changed suddenly when doctors discovered cancer in his left leg when he was nine years old.

He underwent chemotherapy treatments and part of his tibia and femur were removed. Two and a half years later, the cancer reoccurred in his right leg. Marco's cancer overtook his body and he lost his life.

Marco's biggest dream was to own a boat so he could go fishing with his family and friends.

Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Marco's dream came true and his boat continues to be shared with family members and friends.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation fulfills dreams and the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter is one of 130 international locations dedicated to fulfill the wishes of children who have life-threatening illnesses. Martinez said the outing would bring awareness about the disease, but also help other children.

"It's for a good cause," he said.