In efforts to raise money for cancer patients and their families, the fourth annual Hood River 24-hour Paddle for Cancer event will take place later this year. Originally, the charity event was scheduled for April 18-19 but is postponed due to the coronavirus and public health concerns.
The 24-hour challenge was created by Troy Nebeker in Seattle after his wife was diagnosed with breast and lymphoma cancer in 2013. Since then there has been a paddling event in cities across the U.S., Canada and the Cayman Islands, Nebeker said.
“There’s nothing like cancer and there’s nothing like that experience,” Nebeker said. “(The event) helps people understand that it’s not an individual experience. It requires so much more than that. That’s what the event is really about. It’s about encouraging people to think about what’s going on around them and start helping others.”
Joel Yang is the Hood River team captain and said people do it because of their generosity. A total of about 15 members are in the team with another five helping out at the base camp on Nichols Beach just east of Hood River Event Site.
Last year the event raised money for seven families in the area. An envelope was delivered to their home which included a photo of all team members, Yang said.
Funds raised are split between families that need it the most.
“Say we raise $5,000, we take that and cut it up to $1,000 increments,” Nebeker said. “The thinking is, we could give $5,000 to one family, but what if we gave $1,000 to five families? Finding a cure is awesome and there’s lots of companies that are doing that and it’s a really good thing. But when you hear the word cancer and when it enters in your family, you’re not thinking about finding a cure. You’re thinking about if you’re going to die, how to pay for medicine, gas, babysitters or, ‘How do I feel normal for a minute?’ By delivering these envelopes we give these families, who are suddenly consumed of the idea of cancer, one little tiny breath of fresh air.”
For date updates, information or donations visit the event’s GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/f/hoodriver24-4-2020.