October is known in some countries as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and for the team at Paddlecraft up on Sydney’s Pittwater that means a pink-themed fundraising social paddle around Scotland Island. Many of us in Team Fat Paddler have been touched personally by the disease and we’ve been running our own little event called Beards for Boobies which has seen us put down the razor for a month and embrace the discomfort of itchy faces to help raise a few dollars as well. It made perfect sense to join the Paddlecraft crew for a fun day out on the water.
The topic of breast cancer is personal for me. My mother fought (and won) a tough battle with the disease, but not without losing a breast along the way. Another member of our team watched his wife fight a particularly tough battle with it as well. We all have women close to us – wives, daughters, mothers, friends, partners, work colleagues and so forth – who might be struck next. Hell, even men are susceptible to the disease. I look at the three girls in my house and feel sick at the thought of any of them having to go through what my mother went through.
I invited my wife and daughters to come with me to remind myself why I was paddling. Whilst they laughed and sipped coffee on the shore, I paddled away with my friends feeling thankful for having them fit and healthy. That thought promptly disappeared once I fell out of course – haha! Clearly a little too much time spent in the gym and not enough time spent on the water, as it took me a good 15 minutes to get my sea legs again. Once I did though I thoroughly enjoyed the stunning sunshine and the banter of paddling mates as we worked our way around the course.
The crew were a mixed bunch, with everything from double skis to plastic kayaks taking part. It must have looked quite a sight with our motley mixture of boats and attached pink balloons. There was even a remarkable seven your old boy who managed the paddle in an elite surfski under the watchful eyes of his paddling parents. But in the end this was a paddle for fun and as I was to find out later, many there also had personal reasons for wanting to help fight breast cancer.
The day ended with paddlers relaxing at a nearby café, coffee and smoothies being drunk, a homemade lemon cake being passed around and the happy banter of relaxed folk enjoying the beautiful spring morning. It was a good reminder to be thankful for the simple joys of life. Cheers, FP
Donations accepted here for Paddlecraft’s Paddle for Breast Cancer
Donations accepted here for Beards for Boobies
Many thanks to Ross & Helen from Paddlecraft for putting on the event each year.