Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ocean of Hope goes nationwide, starting 4/28

Aimee Spector of Redondo Beach is co-captain of Ocean of Hope.

By Suzie Siegel
Waterman’s Applied Science Paddle for Humanity has named us a charity partner for this year’s five events, beginning April 28 in Dana Point in Southern California. The series will continue June 2 in Deerfield Beach, Fla., near Boca Raton; July 7 in Lake Tahoe, Calif.; Aug. 25 in Washington, D.C.; and Sept. 15 in Austin.

When paddlers register, they can designate their favorite charity, which will get 20 percent of their fees. Net proceeds from the events also will be divided among the charity partners. We are grateful for this opportunity to raise funds and awareness.

In Dana Point, we'll have a tent on the beach for paddlers and anyone interested in talking to sarcoma survivors or learning about sarcoma. People who want to paddle need to register by April 26.

“This is a super-fun and beginner-friendly event,” says Spector. She and Ocean of Hope co-captain Fred Sardisco of San Pedro will help novices. Joe Bark will provide boards for people to use. Bark, a legendary boardbuilder and longtime supporter of O2H, also has donated a stand-up paddleboard for a raffle. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20. California residents can send checks made out to the Sarcoma Alliance to: Ocean of Hope, 1714 Havemeyer Lane, Redondo Beach CA 90278.

O2H is the Sarcoma Alliance's biggest fundraising campaign, with members racing on paddleboards and in outrigger canoes in California and Hawaii. Unlike some races, the Paddle for Humanity events can easily be viewed from shore, and spectators don't have to pay.

“Come out and cheer on the paddlers,” Spector says. The events will be:

-- 5K. “Compete against friends or simply paddle for the pleasure of it. The 5K results will be applied to World Paddle Association (WPA) rankings,” the website says.

-- Distance Over Time Challenge. “How far can you paddle in 60 minutes to support your favorite charity? Each paddler will be given one hour to complete as many 1.6K laps as possible.”

-- Chuck Patterson Signature Series 5-lap Rally Race. “Four around a 1.6K course and one alternate lap that will involve an additional physical and/or mental challenge. Results will be applied to WPA rankings.”

“I was introduced to O2H by several very passionate members, and the camaraderie surrounding the organization within the paddling community is worthy of notice," says Pete Stirling, brand manager for Waterman’s Applied Science in Buena Park, Calif. The company makes sun-protection products designed for high-intensity water sports and endurance athletes. "Waterman’s Paddle for Humanity was looking to expand our humanitarian reach during 2012 and O2H seemed a natural partner. I love how the organization focuses on community and awareness without losing track of either.”

Paddle for Humanity started in 2009, according to its website. “Since that time, the race has grown to become the largest national paddling series and has raised thousands of dollars for its nonprofit partners.”

"I like getting outside and being active while contributing to a great cause," says JoEllen, an oncology nurse who plans to paddle on behalf of O2H in the Deerfield Beach event. She's in the photo at right.

Ron Kabele, an eight-year survivor of metastatic leiomyosarcoma, has offered to staff a table at the Austin event. He's pictured with me

at last month's fundraiser in Austin.

The Sarcoma Alliance is seeking others who want to register on our behalf or sit at tables at the events in Deerfield Beach, Lake Tahoe and D.C. You don't need to be an expert on sarcoma -- we can provide educational materials.

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