GREEN BAY, Wis. - Out on the open waters of Green Bay, you'll find a group of childhood friends on the hunt for a monster musky.
"I mean I go out there, I don't think about what's going on or who's got this or whatever. It's just fishing," said Jordan Olson.
It's a distraction from the 30-year-old's nearly two year battle with melanoma.
"It sucks, but I feel like I'm beating the odds, and I feel like I can do it."
Olson has undergone numerous drug treatments, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, but the skin cancer has spread to his lymph nodes, lungs, and brain.
"When he told me everything, it just hit me. I broke down. Cried all night long," explained Olson's friend, Tim Lautenslager. "I felt helpless, totally helpless, and I didn't know what to do."
Lautenslager's brother, Jeff, suggested they hold a musky tournament to support their fishing buddy.
"When things happen like this, it gets you down in the dumps sometimes, and we want to pick Jordan up and help him out and show him that hey, 'Everybody's here for you,'" Jeff said.
The tournament will not only raise money to help pay Olson's mounting medical bills, it will also support musky research. After fishermen reel in their catch during the derby, teams from UW-Stevens Point will implant a tracking device in the musky.
"Not only will they be able to see where they're going, but to figure out why they're going to different spots on Green Bay or the Fox River and different tributary streams, and if there's actually some natural reproduction. That would just be phenomenal knowledge to know," said Wisconsin DNR Conservation Warden Darren Kuhn.
Olson also hopes, through the tournament, he can raise awareness of skin cancer and the importance of early detection.
"When you think of melanoma, you think black, irregular, goofy looking spots. I have round pink ones, so they come in all shapes, sizes, and styles."
Through it all, Olson's family and friends are impressed with his fighting spirit even when the odds are against him.
Jeff said, "He's had just an absolute great, positive attitude. He spends every day with a smile on his face."
"You have to stay positive," explained Olson. "You can't get ho hum. You can't get down on yourself and at the end of the day, you just go because you might not be here the next year."
With the future uncertain, one thing is for sure. Olson and his fishing buddies will spend every moment they can together searching for their prize fish and making memories together.
The 1st Annual Jordan Olson Musky Derby will be held Saturday, October 14th at the Green Bay Metro Boat Launch. The fishing portion runs from 7:00am to 2:00pm. There is a $200 entry fee per boat. Fishermen can win prize money. First place is $2,000, second place is $1,000, and third place is $500. Participants can also enjoy awards, raffles, food, and entertainment afterwards at Smokey's on the Bay.
For more information on the tournament, the rules, and requirements, contact Tim Lautenslager at (920) 321-6060 or email him at email@example.com.
Organizers plan on making this an annual event in Olson's honor. Future proceeds will possibly go to another cancer patient or to cancer research in hopes of finding new treatments or a cure.