02-Aug-2013 10:27 p.m.

2013 Starboard Paddle For Hope

presented by Hawaiian Airlines

Enter your team and start fundraising at paddleforhope.co.nz and be in to win a trip for two to Hawaii!

Breast Cancer Survivor and Paddle For Hope founder Karin Horen was just 26 years old when she discovered cancer in her right breast.  Luckily, she found it in time, and after a partial mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Karin went back to living life to the fullest, using her voice to encourage others to be aware of their bodies and vigilant about their health.  In October 2011 she initiated a fun annual stand up paddle festival in Auckland’s Viaduct basin to raise money for breast cancer rehabilitation.  Bringing celebrities, politicians, athletes and breast cancer survivors together on boards for a fabulous pink teams relay race, Karin’s event, the Starboard Paddle For Hope, successfully raised almost $100,000 in two years. 

But in January 2013, 14 years after discovering breast cancer for the first time, the beautiful mother of three young daughters found that three suspicious tumours she could feel in her other breast were malignant.  She underwent a skin-sparing mastectomy in March to remove all the breast tissue, then started six months of chemotherapy and surgical reconstruction.  As part of her recovery, Karin started stand up paddling (SUP) again.  “I just take it gently, on clear days in the marina.  For me the emotional and holistic benefits of getting out on the water with my friends are just as important as the physical benefits.  Just a few months after the surgery to remove my breast, lymph nodes and tissue from under my arm, my flexibility and strength are returning faster than I could ever have imagined.  SUP helps me feel healthy and normal again.”

Despite her own ongoing chemotherapy and surgery, Karin is determined to offer the same opportunity for other women recovering from breast cancer. Karin is now working with fellow paddlers Kristin Percy and Victoria Stuart to develop a clinically-endorsed SUP rehabilitation for people recovering from breast cancer. Kristin is the secretary of NZ Stand Up Paddling Incorporated and a qualified SUP Instructor.  She has also used SUP to rehabilitate after breast cancer surgery.

As part of this project, the Paddle For Hope team and New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation will fund a clinical study into the physical and psychological benefits of stand up paddle boarding in breast cancer rehabilitation.

“We already know how amazing stand up paddling is on every level – that’s why we paddle.  There are so many benefits – from the incredible healing power of the ocean and the meditative effect of paddling on it, to the camaraderie of going together with your friends, or even just the feeling of getting out in the fresh air and doing something physical with your whole body.  This is different to any kind of rehab program you can do with a physio or in a gym, and we are really excited to be funding a study that, as far as we know, is the first clinical assessment of the benefits.

“It is so important for women to be active after breast cancer surgery.  So many women don’t do sports, putting themselves at risk of a slower recovery, painful or unpleasant complications like lymphoedema, and even permanent loss of flexibility and strength.  But here is a sport that is easily accessible by women of all ages, and that uses the whole body: core, back, arms and legs. The impact on your joints is low but the impact on your wellbeing is very high.  You don’t have to race or surf on a Stand Up Paddleboard.  It really is just like walking, on water.”

Come walk on water with Karin and be one of hundreds of paddlers painting the sea pink on Saturday, 2nd November 2013, to help women and men recover from breast cancer.

Even if you’ve never paddled before, you can get a team of four together and join in the fun both on and off the water.  Take SUP lessons with any SUP school around the country between now and November or join in the two Starboard Learn-To-SUP sessions in the Viaduct on Sunday 13th and Sunday 20th October.

The Paddle For Hope Festival will take place on the Karanga Plaza and steps leading down to the water, in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter, on 2 November.  There’ll be live music, DJs, dancers, SUP Yoga on the steps and have-a-go paddle sessions before the big teams relay SUP race around the Western Viaduct Basin, followed by more singing, dancing, live charity auction and prizegiving at Marvel Grill.  NZ R&B Artist Erakah, and also Queenstown group the Sequin Sisters will entertain you live, while DJs will keep the beats working all day long alongside special guest MCs from More FM. Prizes for best costumes, best sports, best “picture” moments, top fundraisers and more.

Entries will open mid-August, and all participants are in to win a trip for two to Hawaii.

Visit paddleforhope.co.nz to find out how you can get on board (and on a board) today.

 


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