Posted on September 30th, 2016
Fishing for MD “Muscular Dystrophy” (FFMD) – An innovative one of a kind program creating a financial contribution and awareness to children and adults affected with muscular diseases.
Paul Robertson, a 48-year-old Maryland native who spent his childhood summers boating and fishing in Ocean City, MD was diagnosed fifteen (15) years ago with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (LGMD). LGMD is a progressive debilitating muscular disease that affects voluntary muscles, mainly those around the hips and shoulders. Muscular Dystrophy is a progressive disease with no known cures and very few treatments available today. Paul hopes to utilize the FFMD program to help support the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) in an effort to provide better care for those affected with muscle disease, increase awareness, and generate financial contributions to the research and potential treatments and/or cures of MD.
After taking a serious fall one morning at his home in Howard County, MD a year and a half ago, Paul decided it was time to confront this disease head on and do something to make a difference in the world. Paul said “I have it all going for me.. a wonderful wife, four (4) healthy children, and a successful business I spent the last 23 years building”. Paul knew that this was a calling that was going to lead him to use his business and personal skills to do something BIG!
In April of 2015, Paul reached out to Steven Derks, the CEO of the Muscular Dystrophy Association with the idea to strategically align FFMD, a new offshore fishing team, and co-brand this team with the MDA to support the initiatives listed above. Needless to say, this caught the MDA off guard and took a couple of months to explain what it meant to be involved with the boating and fishing communities. Paul just kept saying “these are some of the greatest people in the world. They are passionate about what they do and the care a great deal about others”.
After months of working back and forth to create and agreement with the MDA Paul got the news coming through the inlet on Day 1 of the White Marlin Open in 2015 while fishing on a friend’s boat. Paul checked his email and found an executed copy of a three (3) year (2016, 2017 & 2018) Strategic Alignment Agreement had been emailed while he was offshore. The agreement was signed by the MDA and Paul knew then that this dream he had was on its way.
Fast forward to the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show last November. Paul scheduled meeting with eleven (11) boat manufactures to “pitch” his idea for this new team. It was Everglades boats (his last meeting) who after two hours of meeting told Paul that they have seen over 400 requests for sponsorship, and we have done one deal in the last 4 years. Then he heard what he was looking for when Bryan Harris, VP of Everglades told Paul “don’t talk to anyone else because we love this and we are going all in with FFMD.”
FFMD launched its program in Key Largo, FL at the Jimmy Johnson National Billfish Championship in March of 2016 and finished in 6th place out of 32 boats. Since then FFMD has participated in 10 tournaments (several in Ocean City, MD) from New Jersey to Key West, FL.
Annual participation in 18-24 offshore tournaments from New Jersey to Key West to Louisiana
Attending and participating at a minimum of three (3) MDA Summer Camps with children affected with muscle disease
Participation in 6 boat shows each year
Be involved in several different programs with MDA that will allow FFMD to account for participation in generating $1,000,000 per year to the MDA
Creation of an inshore saltwater tournament team (in the works) and a freshwater bass team each to be led by someone with a muscle disease with a passion for boating and fishing
Creation of the National Muscular Dystrophy Fishing Awareness Day or Week (100,000 people fishing across the USA in every bay, ocean, lake, river, pond, and stream)
Charing the Washington DC Muscle Team Gala (November 17, 2016 in Arlington, VA and again in 2018)
The team has had some great successes so far and Paul has to often remind himself that although he has been working on this program for a year and half, the boat has only been in the water for seven (7) months. FFMD has made a great impact in this short period of time. The team is preparing to fish three (3) Rockfish tournaments on the Chespeake Bay and will head to Florida in early December to compete in seven (7) sailfish tournaments including the Quest for the Crest. The team recently was granted a 501C3 non-profit status from the IRS.
The MDA launched a new program this summer called “Live Unlimited” and featured Paul in a video you can watch at
For more information or to follow the FFMD team you can connect with them below:
Paul Robertson – Mobile 301-674-8714 Email [email protected]
Facebook Fishing for MD (Muscular Dystrophy)