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!!
The 6th Annual Kiteboarding 4 Cancer comes to a close and we raised over $97,262$110,122 $112,122! Here’s results, photos, and other interesting anecdotes from the weekend! Thank you to all the athletes, volunteers, sponsors, artists, donors, visitors and participants who helped make this event a HUGE success!!
Event Director: Tonia Farman
Logistics & Athlete Tent: Alina Aaron
Boards of Hope & Auctions: Kristyn Fix, Machelle Dotson
Registration & Athletes: Terese Roeseler, Katie Rae
Race Committee: Gregg Gnecco, Kevin Murray, Jane Sebastian
Volunteer Coordination: Natalie Cox
Setup & Construction: Kip Wylie
Super Volunteers: Garret Zallen, John Price, Dave Aiken, Brian Wolff, Elaina Cernera, Olivia Halfen, Kimberly Fink, Ken Lucas, Carol Birdsell and family, The Fitzpatrick family, Norman Arkoff, Heidi Roberts, Ryan Shulz, Rayna Morton, Grant Roesler, Patricia Cooper, Pete & Molly Anderson (the “Mother of Kiteboarding”), Cris Rettler, Julie Spinuzzi & family, Sophia DeWolfe, Shanda Pickhardt, Alexis Vaughan, Elizabeth Goodrich, Shannon Rodine, the entire crew from Oncology Youth Connection!!
Photographers: Richard Hallman, Jennifer Gulizia, Enrique Abreu
Amount raised at event: $97,262 $110,122 & still counting!!
Total number of Laps: 1414
$ average raised per lap based on total $ raised: $68
Nooby Rash’s Riders 34
Nick Stuart, Sam Light, Ashlee Bridgewater, Mike Duhaime
Team North 33
Dan Schwarz, Brian Schwarz, Luke Hill, Devin Carroll
Cabrinha Cruisers Team 2- 32
Randy Orzeck, Kirsten Ulmer, Jeff Paul, Matt Elsasser
Team Tequila 30
Tony Colburn, Ryan Schenk, Carl Davison, Jim Schenk
Wind Breakers/Patagonia 28
Jason Slezak, Jason McCaffrey, Fletcher Chouinard, Chris Lazinski
Team Best 26
Tom van Veen, Ben van Veen, Dominick van Veen, Chris Bobryk
HRV Kite Club 23
Levi Roeseler, Nick Cooper, Cory Roeseler
Team Native 23
Justin Wiley, Felix Granapos, Ryan Huggins, Lance Koudele
Team Mojo 22
Lance Larivee, Greg Lawler, Carl Blakeslee, Ben Jacobson,
SPI Salty Pirates 19
Nicole Corbett, Brett Newcomb, Jim Brown, Christian Zapian
Ack Attack 18
Peter Ackerman, Henry Ackerman, William Ackerman, Lucy Ackerman
Last but not least 11
Team CHAP 2
Brian Currier, Mike Finer, Brian Greenleaf, Tony Baton
Steve Fisher $5905
Matheo Vincent $5726
Jason Jorgenson $3050
Marvin Wayne $2950
Lance Larivee $2475
Carl Blakeslee $2355
Tom van Veen $2286
Scott Fitzpatrick $2020
Greg Lawler $1935
Brian Schwarz $1771
Top Fundraising Teams:
Team Mojo $7335
Team Sparks $6505
Team North $5517
Team Liquid Force $4456
Team Best $3241
Interesting Athlete Facts & Quotes:
“My kryptonite is my big clumsy hands.” ~ Brian Schwarz, Team North
“I’m from New Zealand, so I have a sheep tattoo.” ~ Luke Hill
Matt Elsasser was dropped down a flight of stairs when he was 4 years old.
“I have 2 webbed toes.” ~ Ashlee Bridgewater, Team Naish
Mike Duhaime has his pilot license but never flies.
Henry Ackerman competed with his brothers and Dad
Kari Swarztrauber kited for her Dad who died of cancer 1 year ago. “He was my hero.”
Aspen McKenna, mother of a 3-year old, says her first kite lesson was on her honeymoon 7 years ago in South Africa.
Professional kiteboarder Reo Stevens: “This is my first time back in Hood River in 12 years, and the frist place to leave Hawaii for.”
“I’m somewhat accident-prone.” ~ Ben van Veen
“I can’t keep up with my 12-year old son…” ~ Tom van Veen
Patagonia / FCD Surfboard shaper Fletcher Chouinard on how he started shaping boards… “to become a better surfer.”
Jason Slezak, 34-years old, and has broken more bones than years of his life.
“I have 3 kids all under the age of 5 and still manage to kite. ” ~ Mindy
“I am deathly afraid of mayonnaise.” ~ Sam Light, Naish Team rider
“If I was a fruit, I would probably be a banana.” ~ Dave Grove
“My left foot is bigger than my right cuz it’s closer to my heart.” ~ Devin Carroll
“After watching this event for 5 years, I am overwhelmed at participating for the first time. I also had my first kite tangle today!” ~ Chris Taylor
“I made out with Paula Abdul before she was crazy.” ~ Carl Blakeslee
“The best part of the event is riding with my friends and not having to be a pro. I even rode in my pink tutu!” ~ Cameron Rogers
“I once traveled from Prague to Vienna without my passport by sneaking past officials. ” ~ Lance Larivee
“Quit drinking 3 1/2 months ago, and I am done drinking forever.” ~ Richard Hallman
“I have no sense of smell.” ~ Levi Roeseler
Chris Lazinski is riding for his aunt who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Last year he rode for his cousin who died of cancer.
“I’m a squash National Champion.”~ Brian Greenleaf
“I really like the 3-spike fork (Trident)! I’m riding for my sister who is just finishing treatment.” ~ Dominique Granger
“Was a pro windsurfer for 1 year.” ~ Vicki Roberts
“I’ve kited every year of KB4C.” ~ Tony Colburn
“Out from Montana for this event. My whole family has been affected by cancer.” ~ Mike Thompson
Thank you to our sponsors who provided the following….
Patagonia, Slingshot, Cabrinha, Naish, North, Airush, Providence Hood River, Full Sail Brewing, and Native Eyewear: Our cash sponsors, who, with their help, allowed us to put on this event. We still have to pay rental expenses to the Port of Hood River, the rental companies, the security company, and others to put on this event. Cash sponsors help offset these costs. A huge thank you to these sponsors!!
Native Eyewear: Polarized eyewear for our announcers, the silent auction and the top 50 fundraisers!!!
Full Sail Brewing: 12 kegs for KB4C to raise money with, silent auction gift coolers, Sessions and $100 gift certificates for top Kite Derby finishing Teams!!
Dakine: SX Travel bags, EQ Bags, Messenger bags, accessory bags for top fundraisers!!
Oregon Scientific: ATC Action HD Video Cameras & $20 off coupon for top 25 fundraisers!!
Liquid Force Kites: 2-Kite Quiver of 2013 Envys to one of the top fundraisers!
Slingshot: 2013 Kiteboard for a top fundraiser & silent auction items!
Providence Hood River: Water & Fruit, First Aid Supplies!
Solosports: One all-expense paid vacation in San Carlos Solosports-style for the top Kite Derby winner!!
Vela Kitesurf: 6-nightVacation in one of Vela’s Caribbean kiteboarding locations for a top fundraiser!
Kinesys Suncare: Sunscreen spray for our athletes!!
Palapas Ventana: 5-night Baja Vacation in La Ventana at Palapas Ventana for the silent auction!
Lumeria Maui: 3 nights at Lumeria Maui Ecoventure Retreat in Maui for the silent auction!
Flow Hood River & Day Spa: 50 free class certificates to top 50 fundraisers, a 1-week and 6 month membership for the silent auction!
Cascade Kiteboarding: 3-package of kiteboarding lessons for the silent auction and on-water rescue service during KB4C!
2nd Wind Sports: Athletes for Cancer/2nd Wind Sports Camelbak water bottles
Apple Valley BBQ: Athlete & Volunteer Dinner on Friday night and pies galore for Kite Derby winners!!
Gorge Delights: Fruit bars for all of our athletes!!
Columbia Gorge Organic: Juices and bars for our athletes!!
ZICO Coconut Water: Coconut water for our athletes!