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Catfish tournament benefits 1-year-old with rare disease

William Leach

One-year-old William Leach loves it when people sing to him or make him laugh, but the rare disease from which he suffers is a serious matter and means many trips from his Llano home to Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas in Austin and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. The community is rallying around William and his family with several fundraisers, starting with a catfish tournament Friday-Saturday, June 28-29, on any public body of water. It’s open to boat and shore anglers in teams of four. A tournament meeting is 11 AM on Friday at Bucks Unlimited Taxidermy, 17000 Texas 29 East in Buchanan Dam. Courtesy photo


If you’re going catfishing this weekend, why not do it for William Leach and his family.

The 1-year-old Llano boy suffers from a rare disease: congenital bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria syndrome.

A catfish tournament Friday-Saturday, June 28-29, benefits William and his family.

“It’s a good thing for a good family,” said Jeremy Smarr, one of the tournament’s organizers. 

The event is open to teams of four fishing by boat or on shore. Entry is $100 per boat team and $50 per shore team. There’s a boat captain and tournament meeting at 11 AM on Friday at Bucks Unlimited Taxidermy, 17000 Texas 29 East in Buchanan Dam.

It’s a 24-hour tournament with weigh-in at 11 AM on Saturday at the taxidermy. Competing anglers can fish any public body of water.

“The winners are the ones with the most weight of fish,” Smarr said. “Not necessarily the biggest stringer, but the most weight.”

It’s a 50-50 payout with the winning team getting half of the proceeds and the other half going to William and his family. 

William, the son of Cecil Leach and Desiree Fry of Llano, seemed like a healthy little boy when he was born in June 2018, but a few months after his birth, his parents became concerned.

Last October, doctors diagnosed him with congenital bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria syndrome, a disorder of the cerebral cortex, or outer surface of the brain. He lost his ability to swallow, which required physicians insert a feeding tube through his belly button. According to information for a July 13 fundraiser, William faces “serious neuro and cardiac issues,” which requires trips to Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas in Austin and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. On top of all that, he has seizures on a daily basis.

Smarr said he’s already had a great response to the tournament.

While you can keep what you catch, Smarr asks anglers to consider another use for the fish: donating it toward the William Leach Catfish Fry Fundraiser on Saturday, July 13. This event is 6-11 PM at the Llano County Community Center, 2249 RR 152 West in Llano. It features fried catfish plates by donation, live and silent auctions, a baked goods sale, and live music by Southern Underground. It’s a BYOB event.

“We want to get enough people to donate their fish for the catfish fry,” Smarr said. “There will be people with filet knives on hand at the weigh-in, so you can just donate them right there.”

Call Smarr at (325) 248-1608 or J.J. Ince at (325) 248-8627 with questions regarding the catfish tournament, registration, or other information.

If you can’t make either event, the William Leach Fund account has been established at Llano National Bank, so you can contribute to it.

6 thoughts on “Catfish tournament benefits 1-year-old with rare disease

  1. I pray that the winners will donate the money back to the family and I pray for this child and his family!!

    1. I’m so sorry to hear this. How is he. What is his prognosis and how are you doing with the new life that we live for our little one’s being so uncertain? Is there anything I can do for you or help you with? Are you local?

  2. This is such a sweet baby boy with such an amazing set of parents! Thank you to all the organizers and supporters!

  3. If only I could find the words to weigh how incredibly huge and grateful our hearts are for everyone and the love we have been shown…. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
    William Leach & family❤

  4. I think this is a great way to help a
    family in need.

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