This year’s Kiteboarding 4 Cancer raised a record $123,422, helping us to fund our 2016 programs! Thank you to everyone who participated, volunteered and contributed in one way or another. This event is a community effort! Here are some of the survivorship programs we have planned for 2016:
[NEW!] Survivorship retreats for metastatic cancer – A new retreat for individuals (and their caregivers) with advanced disease seeking an inspiring, fulfilling experience to enhance quality of life with metastatic cancer.
Camp Koru – Our core outdoor retreat program that empowers young cancer fighters and survivors, ages 18-39, to find healing, achievement, and life renewal through active outdoor experiences in the ocean and the mountains.
Ohana Mana retreats – Our 2nd tier survivorship program for cancer survivors who have attended Camp Koru and are seeking a deeper, profound experience that can help them find a great sense of purpose and accountability in all areas of life after cancer.
A huge thanks to our title sponsor, Patagonia!
Also many many thanks to all of our sponsors!! We could not make KB4C happen without your help!
Cash sponsors allow us to cover critical event expenses so that donations go directly to the cause!
Full Sail Brewing
These sponsors provide everything from marketing & publicity to great prizes for the kite derby, auctions and fundraising!
The 8th Annual Kiteboarding 4 Cancer raised $122,789 for Athletes 4 Cancer’s Camp Koru – enough to cover a full year’s worth of camps that help young survivors get their lives back after cancer.
Kiteboarding 4 Cancer is more than just a kiteboarding event, but the main event is a 6-hour endurance race that tests physical and mental strength and tenacity on the water. Kiteboarders hope for wind to help power their kites to go the full 6 hours, or over 100 miles on the Columbia River in front of the town of Hood River.
Despite a less-than-favorable forecast, the wind kicked in at about noon, increased throughout the day and blew strong and steady for several hours, giving the 154 participants of the 8th Annual Kiteboarding 4 Cancer fundraiser a full afternoon of sunny skies and steady wind to make this year’s 6-hour endurance race one of the best and most competitive in event history!
In a parallel of what cancer survivors endure on a daily basis, the KB4C endurance race is a test of personal grit and determination. Those who log the highest number of laps kite the entire six hours without taking a break — a feat not to be underestimated, especially this year with temperatures climbing into the 90s and the wind blowing considerably harder than expected.
Participants competed more than 2,300 laps around the 3-mile course, totaling nearly 7,000 miles of kiting. Individual male top three finishers were Brandon Scheid (70 laps), Tony Bolstad and Cory Roeseler; top three females were Carol Bolstad (48 laps), Rachel Callahan and Savannah Boersma and the top youth finisher was Veta Boersma (42 laps).
“I was out there riding for two hours straight, constantly working upwind. It was a struggle,” said participant Brianna Hirsch, a cancer survivor. “I was thinking, come on, you’ve been through cancer, you can do this.”
Hirsch’s team of cancer survivors, named Two Lymphomas and Two Ballers, was the top fundraising team this year, bringing in $8,408. Team members were Hirsch, Steve Fisher, Igor Alvarez and Jim Erjavek.
Kiteboarding brought me back to life after cancer experience,” said Hirsch, who teaches lessons for Cascade Kiteboarding School. “Last year was my first KB4C and it inspired me to get more involved.”
In all, athletes from Saturday’s endurance race raised more than $80,000 through pledges and individual fundraising efforts before the race even began.
The top individual fundraiser was cancer survivor and former U.S. National Team synchronized swimmer Mandi Browning, who broke the $10,000 threshold by the end of the weekend.
“Life can certainly throw you some major speed bumps,” Browning said on her KB4C fundraising page. “I think what makes the difference is how we choose to traverse them. I prefer to do this with grace, integrity, and living my life as a positive example for others (especially for my daughter). I am thankful for each new day that I have the privilege to be able to live, and I never take anything or anyone for granted. I was first diagnosed 17 years ago … I fought my last battle three years ago, and I’m standing my ground today, cancer-free. Hey, I’m still here, and I’ve got a lot of things that I’ve yet to accomplish … I want to be able to help others and encourage them in their fight; to be able to show them that all things are possible, and that we are all here to support each other. This is an incredible opportunity and I am honored to be a part of this awesome event.”
On top of individual and team fundraising efforts, silent and live auctions held over the weekend brought nearly $25,000. Among the auction fundraisers, the Boards of Hope art project has become particularly popular, and inspiring, over the years. Boards of Hope can be traced back to Scott Farman, the late brother of KB4C founder Tonia Farman.
“Boards of Hope began from the hospital bed of 19- year-old Scott Farman, fighting for his life with acute lymphocytic leukemia,” an excerpt from Athletes 4 Cancer’s website explains. “Scott turned to art for emotional release and when confined in the hospital. In the process, Scott created powerful works of art that today remain his legacy and inspiration for others to find healing through art and the outdoors.”
Cancer survivor and Camp Koru participant Samantha Newton created one of several of Boards of Hope for this year’s auction. Her board — a snowboard — depicted the snow-capped Cascade Mountain Range, under a brightly blue and sunny sky. In an email correspondence, Newton gave the following account of her motivation behind the board design, and her experience with a Camp Koru program on Mount Hood:
“During Camp KORU I participated in downhill skiing for the first time in my life, up on Mount Hood. I would be scared out of my mind, sometimes paralyzed with fear, unable to move down that mountain. And then an 8-year-old would zip by me at a million miles an hour like it was nothing. I’d think, how is that kid doing that? Just letting gravity take him down. “In my journey through cancer I was done with the uphill part, the fighting part. And it was hard, but it makes sense and a lot of people are there for you. “Before Camp KORU I was just wobbling up there at the top of the mountain, alone and scared to move on and filled with anxiety every time I tried to. My week with Tonia (Farman) and her organization and everyone that was on that mountain with me was truly life changing. “I want to go down now. I want to let life take me. It isn’t always easy, and sometimes I still struggle. But, because of the support I had conquering that mountain, I feel like I am more ready to conquer whatever is ahead of me.
“They say it isn’t about conquering the mountain, it’s about conquering yourself. I find that to be true and am finally beginning to move on in my real life because of Camp Koru, and those mountains I see in the distance each day.”
Other events at Kiteboarding 4 Cancer included the Kids Art Tent, The Live Music Stage, the Silent Auction, an Eat-Well demonstration by TrueMed Institute of Hood River, Beer by Full Sail Brewing, and the Boards of Hope live auction.
“Here’s a picture of all of our kites that we used on our last vacation kiteboarding in Maui. We named our KB4C team ‘The Green Team’ because everyone on our team loves nature and enjoys outdoor activities. Taking care of the environment is important to us. We have been addicted to it since our first lesson! We are from Colorado and Florida,” wrote Brad and Mary Thompson.
The kiteboarding GREEN TEAM rocked today’s Kiteboarding 4 Cancer today. They had a rider on a hydrofoil board – not an easy board for a six hour ride. They helped raise money to support our programs that help young adults with cancer.
“I am riding for my grandfather, Allan Jorgensen, who died of cancer in 2005.”
“He was always working to achieve his goals and that is what has inspired me to accomplish mine. Cancer has been a large part of my family from my grandfather to aunties, and each year it is affecting more and more people. I always wish I could do more . . . knowing that people are suffering each day the least I can do is suffer for 6 hours on the water.”
KB4C fundraiser Jason Jorgensen is now in his 5th year of fundraising for Kiteboarding 4 Cancer. Catch Jason in the Kite Derby, where athletes circle the course to raise funds to send young cancer survivors to Camp Koru.
“I hope I can last this year after having surgery recently on my ankle and now needing it on my other foot,” Jason said.
The 7th Annual Kiteboarding 4 Cancer was a HUGE success, meeting our fundraising goal of $100,000 with numbers totaling $100,038!
Funds raised help put on Athletes 4 Cancer’s Camp Koru Survivorship Program for young adults with cancer. Additional beneficiaries of the silent auction include OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute’s Adolescent & Young Oncology Program.
The weekend started out with light to no wind on Saturday, but the festival never stopped with music, activities, art, and food! Saturday kicked off with a wind dance and welcome ceremony from the Warm Springs Tribe Canoe Group of Warm Springs, Oregon, followed by One World Taiko Drummer Group from Seattle, delivering heart-pounding traditional Japanese drumming beats.
Ben Bonham and his band kicked in mid-day with some foot-stomping high-energy bluegrass, and No More Parachutes out of Portland got the crowd moving around 2 pm, right before the Surf & Swim race. Mosley Wotta and his hip-hop funk band rounded out the live music with some high-energy beats just before the silent auction closed.
With the delay of the Kite Derby on Saturday, event organizers shifted the athletes’ focus to some alternate activities that could garner additional laps toward their Kite Derby total lap count. The first event was the Taiko Drum Dance, where athletes had to stand amongst their pumped up kites and dance to the beat of the Taiko Drums while lap counters walked around and marked their jersey number down for an extra lap. The second lap bonus event was the Surf or Swim Race, where relay teams of 4 could either swim or paddle a surfboard around a buoy in front of the event site. No surprise that Team Patagonia, a solid team of surfers from Ventura, California paddled their way to the top spot by a long shot. Team Patagonia won an extra lap for their team totals toward the Kite Derby and every one who participated also received a point toward their lap count.
Saturday finished with our Boards of Hope Live Auction followed by the silent auction, which, combined, raised $16,258!
Sunday kicked off with light winds again, and not enough to run the Kite Derby. Then, around 1 pm the westerlies started kicking in, and at 3:00 pm the 7th Annual Kite Derby Endurance Race began! With just 3 1/2 hours of wind, racers put in the fastest laps ever recorded for the event, with lap counts similar to the 5th & 6th hours in past Kite Derby Races. Total laps for the 3 1/2 hours equaled 1781, with 422 laps counted in just the last hour. Donors stepped up and pledged $2 per lap for the entire race and 4 per lap for the final hour, bringing in $4406 just in day-of lap pledges!
With Kiteboarding 4 Cancer quickly approaching, many of you are fundraising for Athletes 4 Cancer for the first time. Don’t fret! It’s not that scary. Be genuine in what you’re fundraising for, tell the story of why you’re participating in KB4C, and people will support you.
[ Need a quick blurb of what KB4C raises funds for? Here it is… ]
Kiteboarding 4 Cancer raises funds for Athletes 4 Cancer’s Camp Koru Survivorship program, which empowers young survivors to find healing, strength, and life-renewal after cancer through outdoor adventure retreats in the ocean and the mountains.
The content below was adapted from a blog post at GiveForward. It’s a long one, so I tried to reduce to just the CRITICAL points.
How to be a great fundraiser 101
Tell your story: Why are you doing this event? Were you effected by cancer somehow? Do you just like the cause and want to deeply impact others’ lives? Do you love A4C? Tell your story!
Spread the word & don’t start with Facebook: Spreading the word to friends & family is critical to reaching your fundraising goal. But what you might not know is that there is a right way and a wrong way to spread the word to your peeps. These tips can make all the difference in whether you raise $50 or $5000 so take note…. see below.
The Wrong Way: Sending a mass email right after setting up your page.
I guess it makes sense to first start off by telling you what not to do. What you don’t want to do is set up your fundraising page and then IMMEDIATELY send a mass email or shout out to everyone you know asking them to donate (like on Facebook). Sending a mass announcement/email to start off your campaign sounds intuitive, but in fact, this is a bad idea.
Sending a mass email should be the LAST step you take, not the first. Why?
Mass emails areimpersonal. People don’t feel as compelled to donate when they receive a mass email. People respond much much much more positively when they receive a phone call or a personalized email that is directed towards them.
If you send out a single mass email to everyone you know, you have no control over WHO DONATES FIRST. Why does it matter who donates first? Well, it has to do with the law of monkey see, monkey do. When people come to your fundraising page, they check out the donor list to see the average donation size. Then they donate a similar amount. If they see that most people are donating between $50-$100, then they will likely donate between $50-$100. On the other hand, if they check out your donor list and see that most people are donating between $5-$10, then they’ll probably donate $5-$10 too.
By contacting all your friends, family, co-workers and schoolmates at the same time with a single mass email, you’re leaving your fundraising campaign entirely up to chance, as you’ll have no control over who donates first. For all you know, your first few donations might be from people who give you $5 or $10 prompting subsequent donors to donate equally small amounts and making it hard for you to ever reach your fundraising goal.
To summarize, mass emails can be a very useful tool to reach out to lots of people. However, the mass email should always be the last step, not the first!
The Right Way: Categorize your contacts & start BIG.
Categorize your potential donors into different groups and then contact them over a period of weeks starting with your Big Guns (i.e. those likely to donate the largest amounts) first.
Big Guns: Parents, grandparents, spouses, aunts, and uncles, siblings. The people you know well and that know you best are most likely to be the most generous.
Friends PLUS +: More awesome than 99% of the world, but not as awesome as the Big Guns. This consists of more family, friends, family friends and co-workers. Most of these people will donate as well, but maybe not as generously as group 1.
Stretch Group: Consists of FB friends, friends of friends and other acquaintances. These people probably won’t donate the 1st or 2nd time you ask them, but with persistence, they will.
When approaching Big Guns and Friends PLUS+, pick up the phone and make that call! Or send a nice letter. For the stretch group, Facebook posting is fine, just make sure you tell the story that is specific to you, not someone else, as part of the StayClassy pages.
Don’t forget to tell people what where the money goes… (see Camp Koru, above). People donate to YOU, but you stand for something much bigger. If you have any questions about A4C’s Camp Koru program or Kiteboarding 4 Cancer, don’t hesitate to email info at athletes4cancer.org or check out the Athletes 4 Cancer website.
Stick with the 3 Ps for successful fundraising – Personalization, Promotion, and Persistence –and you’ll be on your way! Thank you for your support!!