Dave Mercer wants bidders to go crazy, sort of.
On stage as emcee for last week’s A.R.E. Truck Caps Bassmaster Elite on Table Rock Lake, he made a point to speak at length with angler John Crews. Although Crews made the cut and finished 31st, fishing took a backseat to something near and dear to both.
Crews wears specially designed jerseys during April’s Autism Awareness Month and auctions them. The proceeds go to Autism Speaks and other charities helping those affected by the brain disorder.
Mercer’s daughter, Cadance, has autism, and the Facts of Fishing host stepped right in to help the cause, even though last year Crews’ tournament jersey garnered more than $600.
“This year, I’m going to back this up,” he told Crews and the crowd. “Whatever you get for it, I’m doing to double it. So I’m challenging everybody to go crazy on the bidding … don’t go too crazy, now.”
Crews took up the cause after meeting B.A.S.S. Nation angler Eli Delaney and his autistic son, Luke.
“It kind of opened my eyes to what was going on,” Crews said. “It’s everywhere today. When I was going through school, I don’t remember anybody having autism. My stepson is 14, and there are 2 or 3 people in his grade that are autistic.
“It’s unbelievable the increase in frequency. I think they say a lot of it is better diagnosis, at the same time, it’s definitely increasing in rate.”
Crews noted that the Center for Disease Control recently upgraded its numbers, that it had been 1 in every 88 children affected and now it’s 1 in 68.
“Scientists are struggling for an explanation of what is going on,” Crews said. “I think that helping raise enough awareness and as much money as we can for research is the best thing I can do about it.”
Crews has also sold T-shirts (Click here to get one) to benefit research and passed out “Fishin’ With A Mission” lapel pins to everybody he saw during the week as he helps Delaney’s nonprofit, mylittlebuddysboat.com.
Read more about how John is "taking aim" at autism awareness on his website.
Originally published on OutdoorChannel.com