Dozens of kids with serious health issues hit the waters of the Lake Winnebago System for Josie’s Gift Kids Fishing Day.

The fun fishing day is a chance for children battling life-threatening illnesses to get out and catch some walleye. This is the 3rd year of the event. They had 21 captains and 27 kids participate from across the state. 

Dan O’Kane, Josie’s Gift Founder, inspiration comes from Josie Perea, a young cancer patient he met while working as a cook at the children’s hospita


l in Madison. Dan made custom fishing poles, and Josie loved to fish. Josie lost her battle with cancer but giving people custom fishing rods continues in the form of Josie’s Gift. The cause inspired O’Kane to organize a fun fishing day for others.

“Josie changed my life when I met her. Before she passed, she said it would be “NEAT” if I could help kids out as I helped her. I told her the only way I could do that is if we could call it Josie’s Gift. She put her hand on her hip and said, “I think we can do that!”. And that’s how it all started,” said Dan. 

The event gives the kids a day of normalcy and a chance to be with friends that they have met along their journey. 

“The parents enjoy seeing the children have a great day on the water. I just talked to a mother today and she thanked me because her son had an awesome day and has been telling his fishing stories to anyone that will listen,” says Dan. 

Bassett Mechanical Gives Back to Josie's Gift Kids Fishing Day Bassett Mechanical associates Jon P. served as a captain for the first time this year and looks forward to volunteering for years to come. 

“I have a passion for the outdoors, and I love sharing that passion with others, especially kids. I have been very blessed to be able to do the things I do and have healthy kids, not everyone is that fortunate. It is important to me to share my passion and bring a smile to kids that are dealing with things that no kid should ever have to deal with,” said Jon P., Sr. HVAC Project Solutions Representative.

Please check out their Facebook page “Josie’s Gift by Uncle D’s” or contact them at to learn more.