Representing the Ocean of Hope, Scott Gamble of Honolulu won third place in his division in the prestigious Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard World Championship this week. Hawaii News Now has interviews with paddlers; Scott's interview starts at 1:49 minutes.
"He did great! The race was windy and a bit rough, but the paddlers had the wind and current going with them, which helped," team captain Aimee Spector said. "The Ocean of Hope tent raised a lot of awareness that day! We sold T-shirts and bracelets and gave away stickers. We are definitely looking forward to next year."
For several years, ESPN has been profiling children with life-threatening medical conditions and granting them sports-themed wishes in collaboration with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. These profiles are featured on the "My Wish" segments on ESPN's Emmy-winning SportsCenter.
Last week, the series featured Brett Lisikatos, a teenager in upstate New York, diagnosed with stage 1 rhabdomyosarcoma and now in remission. The program chronicles Brett's challenging treatment and the support he received from his family and friends. ESPN then offered Brett a chance to meet his hero, motocross racer and X Games gold medalist Travis Pastrana, and receive lessons in extreme motorsports. They shared experiences of adversity, determination and perseverance.
Scott Gamble is a lot like his cousin. “He was an ocean guy ... loved surfing, paddling, fishing. Loved Hawaii.”
But two rare cancers, angiosarcoma and rhabdomyosarcoma, cut short Dodge Ackerman's life at 22. This year, Gamble signed up with Ocean of Hope, the largest fundraiser for the Sarcoma Alliance.
“I joined O2H because I wanted to help spread the word about their amazing cause,” says Gamble, 33. I am sure both [my cousin] and his family would have benefited greatly from the resources that O2H and the Sarcoma Alliance now provide.”
O2H captain Aimee Spector of Redondo Beach, Calif., says the team will have at least six paddlers in the Molokai to Oahu race. The other five are from the Los Angeles area.
Last year, Gamble placed third in the race. He won first in the 2009 Dukes Hawaii Championships, and second in the 2010 Battle of the Paddle Distance Race. Because he lives in Honolulu, he says, “the Molokai crossing means a lot to me. It is both a mental and physical test ...very grueling, yet rewarding at the same time. It is a great opportunity to not only cross one of the most prestigious channels in paddling, but also meet all the great watermen and women that enjoy the sport of standup paddling as much as I do.
“I got into standup about two years ago and I have been hooked ever since. I really enjoy downwind distance paddling because it combines two activities that I love: paddling and surfing. I really enjoy being out in the open water with nobody around just trying to read and then surf the ocean open swells. Standing on a board versus sitting in a canoe gives a whole different perspective to understanding the water.”
These photos are from the O2H Gala June 12 in Palos Verdes, Calif. It looks like a great time, doesn't it?
The Lanakila Outrigger Canoe Club hosted the party, organized by O2H team captain Aimee Spector. That's her on the far right, holding up a beer, donated by the Kona Brewing Co. Next to her are teammates Nancy Huh and Dani Hart. Below is team member Tony Hart, the night's bartender.
The gala, which Spector hopes becomes an annual event, brought out local residents as well as paddlers and supporters from all over the South Bay area to enjoy great catered food from Kitchen Harmony, Kona beer and a night of dancing to the tunes of Redondo Beach band Barley Legal.
"We raised over $4,000 in one night," Spector says. "The Sarcoma Alliance is not a big, corporate organization. It does not have major sponsors or huge overhead costs. They rely on grassroots efforts such as the Ocean of Hope to help. 100 percent of the donations we get go directly to helping cancer patients help themselves through education, second opinions and peer networks.
"Being a team member of the Ocean of Hope means working with a great group of paddleboarders and canoe paddlers who give back to the community by dedicating our time to helping others. If you haven't already supported us, and you'd like more information about the Ocean of Hope campaign, the Sarcoma Alliance, or learn about any of the awesome paddlers that are part of the team, please click on our websites. Team members also raise money through fundraising pages on Active.com. You can view these pages and meet team members at www.sarcomaalliance.org/oceanofhope. Click on 'Support the Outrigger Team' or 'Support a Paddleboarder.' The money our team raises through training and racing can help cancer sufferers and survivors find hope, life and some day, a cure."
O2H members will compete at Hennessey's U.S. Paddling Championships July 10 in Redondo Beach and the Catalina Classic Aug. 29 in Manhattan Beach. Come on out!