Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lanakila paddlers go for another win

The women's team from the Lanakila Outrigger Canoe Club, which took first place last September, hopes to win again this Saturday, when they race in the U.S. Outrigger Championships. For sarcoma patients, however, they're always winners because they participate in Ocean of Hope, a series of ocean races that raises money for the Sarcoma Alliance. The women hope to raise $10,000 this year.

"The U.S. Outrigger Championships, held each year at the end of our paddling season, has over 1,000 paddlers from everywhere in the world competing in what is the best, the most competitive and the most exciting outrigger event in California," says Aimee Spector, steering in the photo on the right. "The women's race starts in Newport Harbor and finishes 27 miles later in Avalon on the island of Catalina."

The race is in Los Angeles County, and the Lanakila club is based at Redondo Beach's King Harbor, also in the county. In addition to Spector, team members include Katy Arnold, Agnes Regeczky, Jean Geddes, Theresa Connolly, Maki Miyazaki, Heather Suskin, Dawn Suskin, Suzanne White, Nancy Huh, Lisa Harden, Jessie Kennedy and Tanya Muhle.

Spector, captain of the Ocean of Hope team, joined O2H five years ago.

"Aimee got our canoe club, Lanakila, involved in Ocean of Hope and it seemed to me like a great way to add something meaningful to our training," says Arnold, in the Kaiwi Channel Relay in the photo above. "I started fundraising, and the support I got from friends, family and acquaintances was overwhelming, so I continued to fundraise every year, and now do it as part of my oc1 [outrigger canoe – 1 person] races in the spring. I like paddling outriggers because I love water sports, the ocean, and there is nothing like riding the swells in the open ocean, especially in Hawaii. It is truly exhilarating."

Geddes says she has learned more about sarcoma, including that animals can get it, too. In fact, it's a particular problem for large-breed dogs.

"Being a part of this team can help raise awareness about sarcoma cancers affecting all parts of the population, human and animal, and to raise money which can help cancer sufferers and survivors get second opinion grants which can literally save their life."

To support one of the paddlers named in this post, click on her name. You also can go here.

After the racing season ends, the paddlers have one more way to help sarcoma patients. They are planning the Power of the Ocean – Ocean of Hope Gala for Jan. 21. It will raise money specifically for Hand in Hand: the Suzanne R. Leider Memorial Assistance Fund, which offers financial assistance for second opinions by reimbursing expenses related to travel, phone bills, costs of the evaluation, and related expenses.

-- Suzie Siegel


Marisa said...

I just stumbled on your blog, a sarcoma patient. I am in awe of you and your thoughtful efforts.
thank you!

Suzie said...

Welcome! I'm sure the athletes loved your comment. Please join us at our regular web site,, or on Facebook, in case we can help with anything. I'm also a patient -- I'm in remission from metastatic leiomyosarcoma.