Tuesday, June 5, 2012

O2H paddlers rock June 17

The paddleboarding trifecta begins June 17 with the Rock 2 Rock race in Southern California, and our Ocean of Hope team will be there.

"Rock 2 Rock is considered a tune-up race for both Moloka'i 2 Oahu in July and the Catalina Classic in August," says O2H co-captain Aimee Spector of Redondo Beach. O2H, a series of ocean races, is the Sarcoma Alliance's biggest fundraising campaign. She ticks off the names of the team members: co-captain Fred Sardisco, Phil Ambrose, Joel Pepper, Steve Shikiya, Steve Shlens, Scott Gamble and Mike Rogers. She calls them "super nice guys."

"Our team is comprised of some of the most humble yet talented paddleboarders in the South Bay and beyond."

The 22-mile Rock 2 Rock Paddleboard + Stand Up Paddling Race begins off Catalina Island and finishes at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro in Los Angeles County.

"You can race solo or in a team, traditional or stand-up," Aimee says. "Awesome goody bags, pre- and post-race meals, a great finish-line venue and the much-anticipated Ocean of Hope raffle of a Bark board are all good reasons to attend! $5 from every competitor’s race fee will be donated to the Alliance."

Famed paddleboard shaper Joe Bark started the race 15 years ago, and George Loren continues it as race director. Check out our Facebook page and register here.

"I am going solo for Rock 2 Rock this year," Aimee says. "Normally, I am a consummate outrigger-canoe paddler and only dabble in the fine art of paddleboarding when the whimsy hits me. But I might as well put R2R under my belt because all of the money I raise and the training I put into it and the time it takes is dedicated to people suffering from sarcoma that I may never meet but can help through my efforts.

"It also reminds me that ordinary people can do extraordinary things and that being grassroots connects us to people that need our help the most."

On June 23, O2H will have its tent and information on sarcoma at the Jay Moriarity Memorial Paddleboard Race in Capitola, Calif. The race starts at New Brighton State Beach and honors a legendary surfer.

Sarcoma survivors are welcome guests at any of these events. In the photo below, for example, Aimee and Fred greeted Steven Alan Fry in April at the Waterman’s Applied Science Paddle for Humanity races in Dana Point, Calif.

The avid outdoorsman from nearby San Juan Capistrano had paddled in P4H races before. This year, he read a news release that O2H had become an official charity of P4H. He decided to attend even though he is undergoing treatment for metastatic Ewing sarcoma.

"I have a lot of pain and nausea," says the entrepreneur. "But it did me a lot of good to get out in the fresh air and meet the O2H paddlers. There's nothing I enjoy more than being out on the water among paddlers."

Steven is director of HPWA (Human Powered Watercraft Association), which "represents the interests of all human powered watercraft through public education, protection of natural resources, defense and expansion of public access and general promotion of the world's most environmentally friendly and healthy form of water sports."

He believes in a healthy lifestyle. So, when he was diagnosed in 2010, "it was like being hit by lightning." He had seen a doctor for a sore shoulder, only to find out he had sarcoma in his right scapula. He is in a Phase 3 clinical trial for Yondelis, which is approved in Europe, but not yet in the U.S.

"We still have a lot to do in providing health care to people in this country."

For other events, click here.

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