Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Staying in the race

A lot of sarcoma patients can identify with Phil Ambrose, I bet. He came in 80th in the Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race last month near Los Angeles. He races for the Ocean of Hope (O2H) team, the Sarcoma Alliance's biggest fundraiser. The names of Wendy Sommers and Tracy Talley are painted on his board. His photo is above.

"The water conditions were good, but it wasn't as fast as last year," said Arthur Beckert, the Alliance's executive directior. (He's in the photo at right with Joe Bark, who has been great about giving us boards to raffle.) The wind picked up and the water got choppier as the day wore on, making it harder for the people who were already behind. Phil didn't give up. Like many sarcoma patients, he found the strength to keep going.

So far, the Catalina Classic has raised $46,600 for the Alliance. The paddlers raise money, as do sarcoma survivors, family members and friends. For $3,000 raised, a paddler will put someone's name on his board.

Mark Schulein, the biggest fundraiser, placed 23rd. On his board are the names of Suzanne Leider and Bob Chambliss. Bob's mother, Kathy Chambliss, is in the photo on the right with Mark. David Stringer, who came in 45th, honored Doug Harden and Jon Rowland. His photo is below. Joel Pepper, the newest member of the O2H paddlers, placed 48th. He raced in memory of Janet Lasley, and his photo is at the end.

Team Captain Fred Sardisco and Zach Lenz didn't race in the Catalina Classic this year, and Scott Gamble races in Hawaii. The volunteers on the beach were: Claude Alexander; Arthur and Molly Beckert; Betsy Haas-Beckert; Kathy Chambliss; Ali and Joan Darling; Lisa Harden; Ade Lawal; Philip Leider; Joan Mousseau; Dave Murphy; Ellen Silver; Aimee Spector; and Michael and Marites Tullius.

Sandy Williams baked cookies, and Christine Tope made pies and cookies. Barney Tong took the photographs; more can be found on Picasa. If I left anyone out, please leave a message for me in the comments. Our special thanks to all who helped!

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