I recently learned about an innovative fundraiser to help multiple myeloma research in the Tampa area. Called Sweetwater’s Paddle for the Cure, friends tell me it is a fun way to help raise lots and lots of money!
Yesterday I emailed event founder, Dr. Arnie Goodman, for his thoughts about the event, and why he felt it was important to get something like this started. Dr. Goodman responded to my questions this morning:
That would be awesome if you did a story about the event. I am a physician in Tampa and was diagnosed with multiple myeloma 5 years ago. I came up with the idea of the race 3 years ago. I was talking to a friend of mine who told me about a 12 year hispanic boy, who had traveled around the country in an RV to raise awareness and sign up hispanic bone marrow donors, because there was a critical shortage in the hispanic population. I started thinking if a 12 year old boy can do that, I ought to be able to do something. Before I was diagnosed I was an avid kayaker and the kayak race was a natural extension of my passion. A friend of my owns Sweetwater Kayaks, a kayak shop in St Pete. He jumped on board to help launch the race and provide rental kayaks for the who did not have their own. We are now in our third year, and last year we had 170 paddlers. Last year we introduced a stand-up paddle board race as well. The race has been a big success by reaching out to the paddling community, the multiple myeloma community, people who have been touched by cancer in other ways and people who just want to enjoy a fun day on the water, and would like to see downtown Tampa from a kayak. In the first 2 years we have raised $75,000 for MMRF
Here is a quote from Debbie Almay, also a myeloma patient and kayaker from Leesburg who did the race last year:
Its a fun and colorful event with a VERY worthy cause! As a Multiple Myeloma survivor and an avid kayaker I applaude Sweetwater’s Paddle for the Cure. It was exhilerating to participate in my first race! The best part is that all the proceeds will benefit research that will aid in a better quality of life for cancer survivors.
As a rule, I don’t usually plug fundraising events. Not because I don’t think they are important, but because there are so many, I wouldn’t know where to start or stop. But it turns out Arnie is also a patient of my myeloma specialist, Dr. Melissa Alsina at Moffitt Cancer Center. I also know a number of fellow patients who participate in and contribute to the event. Rules were meant to be broken, right?
Looks like fun–and its pet friendly, too!
You can find registration info at http://www.beatcancerwithapaddle.org/. This year’s event will be held May 7th in downtown Tampa. I attended a historic home tour last weekend along the water there. Tampa Bay is truly a beautiful place! Reminds me of Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, only with palm trees and egrets.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat