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Tampa Pig Jig serves up BBQ for a good cause

When a friend is going through a tough time, the simplest things can make them happy. It could be anything from getting ice cream to just being there for them when they need it. Ryan Reynolds and his friends created the Tampa Pig Jig to find a cure for their friend Will when he was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). Besides being there, they created an entire contest, the Tampa Pig Jig, to raise money to find a cure for his disease.

I spoke with Ryan recently and got the scoop on this year’s Tampa Pig Jig fundraiser. They usually average about 8k people and there’s a full days worth of activities for the whole family.

A little history behind the fundraiser:

“When their friend Will Wellman was diagnosed with the rare kidney disease Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) in 2008, Ryan Reynolds and friends/Tampa Pig Jig co-founders Chris Whitney, Vince Chillura, Wes Tolbert, and Charles Davis decided to do something about it.

“Two of my friends were having some banter back and forth about whose barbecue is better so I suggested we have a smoke-off at a friend’s house to settle it,” says Reynolds. 

Which transformed into the very first Tampa Pig Jig, which was hosted in 2011. The backyard barbecue competition fundraiser invited a number of friends and family to grab a plate of food, dance, and donate money to find a cure for FSGS. This low-key inaugural event raised $6,000.

“We probably had 200 people that came throughout the day. Afterward, we figured we could do it again the following year and make it bigger,” Reynolds explains. 

And they did, by raising $50,000 and feeding thousands more.

Wanting to continue the tradition of getting bigger and better, the gang is gearing up for the 9th Annual Tampa Pig Jig on October 19 at Curtis Hixon Park. “

Read more about Ryan and Tampa Pig Jig here.