Camp Koru: More Than I Could Ever Imagine

By Becky White

I am a fiercely-independent single mother of three very active school-aged children.

Four years ago, at 37 years old, I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer (December 2011) and in January 2012, discovered I am a BRCA1 carrier. Following my initial lumpectomy, I found out that the cancer had already spread to my lymph nodes, which meant I would need chemotherapy and prophylactic bilateral mastectomy, or a preventative mastectomy.

Unfortunately, one year later, the cancer spread to my bones and liver, changing my diagnosis to metastatic breast cancer, or stage IV. Metastatic cancer means that I will be on some kind of cancer treatment (mostly chemotherapies) for the remainder of my life. It sounds bleak, but I looked at this situation as a challenge and was determined to live past the statistics (average 2-3 year survival rate), and push myself to try new things.

That’s where Athletes 4 Cancer came into my life.
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I had already run a 5k with my daughter, completed a mud obstacle course and hiked into the Grand Canyon. Learning to surf had never crossed my mind, but I have always loved watching surfers. A woman in my cancer support group had just returned from a similar camp. Hearing her energy and enthusiasm, I immediately applied for Camp Koru surf camp. Not only was I going to learn how to surf, but I was going to meet other people surviving cancer! I was excited and ready to jump in feet first!

Camp Koru was more than I could have ever imagined. In one week, I learned to surf, I made amazing friendships and worked with dedicated staff and volunteers! It was a time to relax and challenge myself—challenge my determination and will. We were there at that moment to challenge ourselves and support those who were going through the same situation.

I came home with a sense of hope, a sense of community or “Ohana” (meaning family) and a sense of pride.

Athletes 4 Cancer created a life-altering experience for me by fostering community and safe space to bond over a challenging and fun activity—surfing! I am still connected to Athletes 4 Cancer and the other campers and have created a strong, supportive network.

Athletes 4 Cancer is a vital organization to those who are living with cancer.

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Boards of Hope invites artists to transform recycled boards into works of art, hope.

Boards of Hope DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JULY 1!!!

BOARDS OF HOPE

Boards of Hope is an Athletes 4 Cancer project that brings artists and the boards we ride together to benefit young lives affected by cancer. The 2013 theme for Boards of Hope is
HEALING IN THE ELEMENTS. However you interpret that theme in your board project is completely up to you!

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Boards of Hope invites all artists to transform recycled boards of all types into canvases for stunning works of art, based on the theme, HEALING IN THE ELEMENTS.  Accepted boards include surfboards, kiteboards, skateboards, skimboards and snowboards.

Select survivor and professional artists’ boards will be featured in a silent auction at Kiteboarding for Cancer July 13-14th, 2013.  Proceeds will benefit Athletes 4 Cancer Survivorship Programs and OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s Adolescent & Young Adult Oncology Program.  Selected artists be featured on the Athletes 4 Cancer and Kiteboarding 4 Cancer website and on flyers at the event. All artists, from professional to amateur are encouraged to submit their work.

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The History of Boards of Hope

Boards of Hope began when Athletes 4 Cancer’s founder, Tonia Farman, brought art supplies, recycled papers, wood, and mixed media to her brother, Scott’s, bedside at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital. He was undergoing a long battle with leukemia and found a sense of calm and purpose in art. His organs and body were weak, but his soul poured out with life in his artwork. Mixed media and collage became his channel of expression, therapy and healing. His works became an inspiration for Boards of Hope.

Scott and his art

Two Levels of Artist Submissions
Professional Artists: Interested in your work being highlighted for a good cause? Submit an Artist’s Bio to tonia @ athletesforcancer.org. If selected as a feature artist, you and your artwork board will be featured in advance of the event in event publicity. Submit your board by June 1st. Check art specs below.

Amateur Artists: Submit your board by July 1st. Check art specs below. Please submit questions and submissions to tonia @ athletes4cancer.org.

The Boards of Hope exhibit will be on display at Kiteboarding 4 Cancer July 13 & 14th. The main exhibit and auction will take place July 14th at the Kiteboarding 4 Cancer Boards of Hope tent at the Hood River Event Site, with the live auction at 6:00 pm.

Athletes 4 Cancer’s Survivorship Programs for Young Adults with Cancer video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUv-3QAfyLM&list=PL8E5505E7B57F94A1

If you are a professional artist and are interested in making a submission to Boards of Hope, email your Artist Bio to tonia@athletes4cancer.org.

Boards of Hope Cancer Art Project

Artist Specifications:

  • Artists must obtain their own recycled boards and art supplies to create board.
  • NO standup paddleboards or windsurf boards.
  • Complete the Board Submission Form.
  • Finished piece must be sealed with a protective and archival sealant
  • Boards are not intended to be ridden after artwork
  • Artists are encouraged to use acrylics, acrylic paint pens, sharpies and collage mediums.
  • Works must be completed and delivered by June 1st.
  • All submissions are donations to Athletes 4 Cancer and will be auctioned off at Kiteboarding 4 Cancer’s Live Auction at the Hood River Event Site Saturday, July 13th.

We strongly encourage SURVIVORS & FIGHTERS to submit their art!

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Team Duke Athletes for Cancer Surf Camp invites survivors to surf, connect, and live.

The John Wayne Cancer Foundation and Team Duke is committed to helping young lives affected by cancer to find life again by partnering with  Athletes for Cancer to underwrite our third survivorship camp this April. We still have a couple spots left and are accepting applications for these camps NOW. For complete camp info, check out our Programs.

  • April 1-7, 2012 – Team Duke A4C Surf & SUP Camp : Maui, Hawaii

Other camps in 2012: 

  • November 1-7 –  Surfing & Standup Paddlesurfing : Maui, Hawaii
  • November 11-17 –  Surfing & Standup Paddlesurfing : Maui, Hawaii
About the Team Duke A4C Camp:
Athletes 4 Cancer is focused on renewing, rebuilding, and restarting lives after cancer. We do this through adventure-therapy retreats that promote a healthy model for survivorship. These retreats utilize a combination of adventure challenges, connection to the natural elements, and building strong peer relationships through the experience. And most of all, have fun doing it.

Survivorship Requirements

  • ALL LEVELS of physical abilities are welcome to apply!!
  • cancer fighters and survivors between the ages of 18 and 40 at time of application
  • cancer diagnosis must be after 15th birthday
  • submission and approval of survivor application
  • submission and approval of A4C medical form,  completed and signed by doctor
  • airfare/transportation to the nearest airport of camp destination is attendee’s responsibility, but food, accommodations, transportation during camp, instruction, and all necessary gear is covered for the week once at camp.

2012 Survivorship Camp dates announced

We are excited to announce dates for our 2012 camps! Athletes for Cancer is accepting applications for these camps NOW.

  • April 1-7, 2012 – Surfing & Standup Paddlesurfing : Maui, Hawaii
  • November 1-7, 2012 –  Surfing & Standup Paddlesurfing : Maui, Hawaii
  • November 11-17, 2012 –  Surfing & Standup Paddlesurfing : Maui, Hawaii

Additional camps may be added for 2012. Check back here for the latest info.

Survivorship Requirements

  • ALL LEVELS of physical abilities are welcome to apply!!
  • cancer fighters and survivors between the ages of 18 and 40 at time of application
  • cancer diagnosis must be after 18th birthday
  • submission and approval of survivor application
  • submission and approval of medical form completed by doctor
  • airfare/transportation to the nearest airport of camp destination is attendee’s responsibility, but food, accommodations, transportation during camp, instruction, and all necessary gear is covered for the week once at camp.

KB4C adds own program with Young Adult Survivorship Camps – you’ll want to be involved with this!!

Kiteboarding 4 Cancer is in the planning phase of hosting our own Survivorship camps for young adult (ages 18-40) cancer survivors. These camps aim to foster self-confidence and strengthen survivorship through kiteboarding, standup paddling, and other outdoor adventure skills.  Submit a volunteer application here!

KB4C’s survivor camps will take campers on an experience of a lifetime that will both challenge and inspire each person involved. With a team of professional kiteboarding instructors and experienced watermen and women, we will safely embrace some of the great powers of nature — wind, swell, and water — to overcome physical or psychological limitations as they face life after cancer.

2009 Camp with First Descent
KB4C Joins Team First Descent in 2009 for some SUP-ing

Camps will run for 6 days, and will take place in locations that can accommodate a safe learning environment while offering some variety in recreational and cultural activities. And most of all, make it FUN!

If you are interested in helping us put on these camps, we would love to hear from you. We are looking for locations and accommodations that are on or near the water, maybe a camp or cabins setup, with safe access to the beach. We are open to locations in North America at this time. In addition, we are looking for volunteers for the following positions:

  • Oncology team for medical application process
  • Medical staff volunteers
  • Lead kiteboarding instructors, Level 2 +
  • Level 1 + certified kiteboarding instructors
  • SUP instructors
  • Camp volunteer EMTs
  • Camp volunteers
  • Cooks and assistant cooks
  • Logistics coordinators (drivers, shufflers, gear managers)

Please submit a volunteer application here!

We are also seeking monetary and service donations. For more information and to get involved, please email tonia@kb4c.org.