October 3-4, 2016
Row4aCure contacted us on September 9, 2016 in need of paintwork on a homemade row boat that was built to take a 65-mile solo trek across Lake Michigan. The Row4aCure organization was established to raise funds for childhood cancer research, specifically finding a cure neuroblastoma. While working with this group we learned that childhood cancer research receives very little funding compared to other forms of cancer research, making this a noteworthy cause to support.
Our team gladly took on the project at no charge for this great cause, and we also supported the rower (Jake) on his trek across the lake. LandCraft followed him in a support boat, and here are details from the event:
Jake was scheduled to row on September 30, 2016 but was delayed due to a slow moving low pressure system across the region. On the 30th there were strong winds and 10 foot waves... not a good day to row. Per NOAA and Coast Guard recommendations, the row was rescheduled for the evening of Sunday October 2nd... but at 7pm EST, we headed out into unexpected lingering fog and large swells, so we had to delay the row for safety reasons until the nighttime fog cleared.
On Monday October 3rd at approximately 8:50 am we left St. Joseph Michigan for Chicago, following Jake Beckley and the Row4aCure boat. The lake was still settling after days of strong winds and large waves. After a few hours of rowing the winds became calm and the lake took on a glassy sheen giving Jake optimal rowing conditions. Shortly after sundown on Monday evening, at approximately 10pm, heavy winds out of the East/Southeast came upon us quickly creating 4 foot chop with 6-8 foot waves eventually taking over by about 1-2 am. After hours of Jake fighting the waves, and after calling the Coast Guard station for confirmation of weather conditions (winds and waves expected to increase), we called Jake to our boat. The weather conditions became too hazardous for the row to safely continue - it would become nearly impossible to safely rescue Jake and the Row4aCure boat had we waited much longer to secure them to our vessel.
With strong winds and waves to our stern quarter and hull side, we had to continue to travel at idle speed with the Row4aCure boat (which had to be secured twice after coming loose in the intense lake conditions). We arrived safely at Dusable Harbor at approximately 5:30 am on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
In some of the photos from the row (see below), you will be able to see the damage the Row4aCure boat suffered in the harsh conditions we faced. This was no average fundraising campaign. The Discovery Channel should have filmed this entire amazing, dramatic event as it unfolded—we are disappointed that we didn't have multiple cameras rolling to capture the spectacular, unexpectedly dramatic 24-hours of footage.
On October 14, 2016 we attended the Row4aCure after party and fundraising auction, celebrating with the great people that contributed to this campaign for Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.
A special thank you goes out to Jake and Rafaela Beckley for introducing us to their foundation and this cause - allowing LandCraft to contribute and assist, Rafaela Beckley and JC Guerrero for their deckhand assistance, Senator John Proos for securing a boat slip for us in St. Joseph, and Dusable Harbor for providing us with unexpectedly needed safe refuge upon our return. Also, thank you to Fusion92 and the Beckley's for putting together a great after party and auction with continued fundraising efforts at the Columbia Yacht Club.
Stay tuned for the next annual fundraising effort to bring awareness to the devastating cancer affecting children (neuroblastoma), and also efforts to bring attention to childhood cancer awareness month (September). Childhood cancer research gets very little funding and attention compared to other causes. Please help spread awareness throughout the year.