Fundraising Page for Pamela Strom
My story begins with my late husband Andrew's phone call from his mother, Sara Mena, telling him she has Parkinson's Disease. He was devastated with the news and took this stark reality really hard. He could barely cope with the thoughts of loosing her. What happened was that we tragically lost Andrew within a years time, he passed away June 22, 2006. From then to now there has been a lot of healing from his death through Outrigger Paddling and Standup Paddle Boarding (SUP) it was clear that it's time to give back. I began racing SUP in 2009 and knew at some point I wanted to do a benefit for Parkinson's for Sara. The intuitive voice in me kept getting stronger and stronger it wouldn't quite. So I started asking around the SUP community like SUP Chicks So-Cal's, Sabrina Suarez, if she knew of a race benefiting Parkinson's. She did not but was so willing and ready to help in any way that she could.
SUP races were popping up all over the world at this point in the Summer of 2010, yet nothing for Parkinson's. I decided to let it go and wait to see if something would show up. Again my intuition was loud and clear that I needed to create my own race to benefit Parkinson's for Sara. I saw a forum posted to what at that time was the infancy of SUP Connect (it hadn't even gone mainstream yet) from Noelle Kozak titled "benefit races". I commented had she heard anything about a Parkinson's race; she hadn't, but was open to talking about it and wanted to hear my story. Time passed, we would check in on one another periodically and together by December 2010 we were committed to putting on a race even though neither one of us had ever done this before.
Noelle got us hooked up with Billy Whitford of Newport Aquatic Center (NAC), Newport Beach, California for a round table to determine what type of race we wanted and get his expertise. Suzanne Yeo, Lyn Deinhart, and Rich German were there to support and brainstorm. We named the race "Standup to Parkinson's", a SUP-a-Thon. We wanted the race to be a little different from what was already being done and decided to go with a run/SUP. We wanted kids, families, elite racers and novice alike to participate and have fun. We decided racers could choose whether to fundraise or just pay the entry fee of $40.00. A percentage of the monies raised will go to the children's program at NAC.
The generosity and time given by people along the pathway of this journey has been remarkable. My SUP training partner, Ruthy Vesler, knew of an artist, David Ruch, that would be perfect to create a logo. I have SUP friends like, Debbie Church, directing me to folks who have experience in putting on large events like this and Julian Heppekausen of Mizu Life donated the first raffle prizes to the race of steel water bottles and t-shirts. This all giving me hope that an event just might really happen. To my surprise Trish Davis, my Crossfit coach, informed me that she is putting on a fundraiser just for the race. Good things keep coming. My intuition is getting quieter now that I've actually begun working on the race, things are falling into place divinely. I have to say that I think it's Andrew guiding my way.
The details of this race are still unfolding as I write this story, so I will update as time goes on. I'm so blessed and so thankful for all that I have. Here's to Sara's healing, let's find a cure.
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