Logan Bauder, a Westchase Elementary fifth grader, was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, a chronic disease of the lungs and digestive tract, when he was less than one year old.
With inital feelings of helplessness, Logan's parents Chip and Heather Bauder disconnected from friends and neighbors while adjusting to the news about their baby boy. Then they took action.
The family became involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the development of new drugs to fight the disease, improve the quality of life for those with CF, and to find a cure.
Every fall since 2001, Heather and Chip, join with a 30-person committee to organize the Tampa Tailgate Gameday.
This year's event will be on Oct. 8 at the Raymond James Stadium where the Florida Gators will take on the Louisiana State Tigers. Tailgate tickets are $100 and include an open bar of beer, wine and soft drinks and unlimited food from 20 Tampa restaurants.
Tampa Tailgate Gameday also includes a silent auction, raffle giveaways and a live auction during halftime. Westchase residents unable to attend the event can make a tax deductible donation at www.tampatailgate.com.
Recently Patch talked with the Bauders:
Patch: What is your favorite part of Tampa Tailgate each year?
Heather: Chip and I love everything about Tampa Tailgate. We have seen it triple in size since we started the event 10 years ago. Having the support of friends and this community is so inspiring and encouraging.
Patch: Have you encountered other families through this event that have become a support system for you?
Heather: When we found out that Logan had Cystic Fibrosis we felt so alone and without hope -- we were desperate. Dedicating ourselves to finding a cure through fundraising has given us hope. We have family and friends that have been there with us every step of the way, without them we could not pull off Tampa Tailgate.
Patch: Tell us a little about Tampa Tailgate Gameday.
Heather: Tampa Tailgate is a good time for everyone, not just football fans. It’s casual with lots of food from the best restaurants in Tampa, and lots to drink, not to mention the best auction items around. It's a fun way to do something unselfish and make a difference.
Patch: Aside from a great time, what do you hope families can get out of this event?
Heather: We’re hoping families and friends from Westchase will realize their direct impact in eradicating this deadly disease. They are literally bringing us one step closer to a cure in Logan’s lifetime. Sometimes, it’s too much to consider knowing how many CF patients that suffered and were lost to CF. They do not get to grow up, have the career they want, get married and have kids or live out their dreams. They knew they would not have the choices most people have or the opportunity to live out their lives. We feel fortunate that we can actively help, many CF families are bogged down with financial limitations, poor insurance and lack of resources
Patch asked Logan if he'd like to take a minute to address Westchase folks and tell them about the event. Logan is not able to attend, because of a contagious bacteria that is easily spread between CF patients, however he did want to say a few words to our community:
A message from 10-year old Logan:
"My name is Logan and my family chairs “Tampa Tailgate." My favorite part of the event is usually is making the invitation, I get to draw the picture. I want people to know how badly we need money to help find a cure so all the kids with Cystic Fibrosis don’t have to do treatments everyday and stay in the hospital. Or maybe even pass away. Would you help me raise money to find a cure by coming to Tampa Tailgate?"
Tampa Tailgate Gameday Event Details:
When: Saturday, Oct. 8, 5:30 p.m.
Where: East Club Level of Raymond James Stadium
Price: $100 per ticket
Tickets: Call 813-374-9041 or visit www.tampatailgate.com