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Today, I went down to Dana Point to watch some of my friends compete in a 6 mile Stand Up Paddle race.  The conditions didn’t look fun at all and I was happy to be on the beach and not in the water.

The Start Of the Race

After the race finished up I had an interview for the webisodes we are putting together and we are also putting together a Breast Cancer PSA.  A couple of big boats passed by behind us and the engine noise was just loud enough that we had to pause and wait for them to pass by.  Two boats went by and they were full of people.  Chris, my Filmer, and I didn’t think anything of it and so as the boats rounded the corner we continued doing our filming.  A gentleman was standing off to the side and it was evident he was listening to what I was saying.  The next moment we paused he edged his way over and said, ” I couldn’t help but listen, so if I’m hearing you correctly you are getting ready to stand up paddle from Catalina to Dana Point for Breast Cancer?”  I answered, “yep, you are correct”.  He continued, ” did you see those boats full of people just go by?  Well they are carrying the ashes of my good friend Robin Kastner, whom just lost her battle with breast cancer. They are going out to spread her ashes in the ocean.”  There was a moment of silence, millions of thoughts started racing through my head about other people I know that have lost their battle with cancer, my friends that are currently battling, my college roommate whom passed from cancer, my neighbor whom just lost both his Mom and Dad within 6 months to cancer.  I started to get really fired up, I took a deep breath and said to him, “I’m really sorry for your loss, I am going to put Robin’s name on my board for my paddle March 28th, and when I get weary I will look at Robin’s name for motivation.”  I started to get a little emotional, he gave me a nod, and i could tell he was getting a little emotional.  He murmured a thank you and went on his way gazing off at the boats heading out to sea.

Catalina In the Distance RIP Robin Kastner

As I continue on in this journey, it seems that just about every person I come in contact with is affected by this disease in one way or another.  My journey is opening people up to share their stories with me.  Their losses, their triumphs, and their current battles.    I wish that there was no such thing as cancer, someday some of us will be in a place where there is no disease, death, or pain.  But so long as we live in this place called earth, cancer is a reality.  I’m glad that what I’m doing is an inspiration to survivors, people currently battling, and those of you who have lost loved ones to cancer.  The reality is, it’s the survivors, the people battling, and those of you whom have lost your loved ones to this disease that ARE MY INSPIRATION!

Thank you for your continued support.  This paddle is not about me, it’s about humans having faith and digging deep to overcome something that is big, unknown, and scary!  Just like those of you that have beat cancer, (MOM), and those of you battling right now!  In the end, if I can raise some money to help support foundations that contribute to research, educate the youth about prevention, early detection,  active lifestyles, and motivate a few people a long the way.  Then it’s totally worth it!

Founded in 2010 by professional surfer Jodie Nelson, Paddle With Purpose, as of 2013, is officially a recognized 501c3 non-profit organization created to serve as a philanthropic extension of the sport of Stand Up Paddling. Grounded on the premise that empowerment motivates and inspires, PWP exists to raise awareness and funds for a variety of causes and movements. With over $150K raised through organized races, community events and an integral presence the action sports industry, PWP has been proven a successful and credible agent for action and change.

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