In the pre-dawn darkness, I found myself on a sandy beach, staring across the darkness and open water of Cape Cod Bay.
I had a gnawing, uneasy feeling inside of me. I was unsure if I had done enough to train. Had brought enough food with me? And would I be strong enough to finish the 30-mile crossing? I felt small and alone not knowing any of the other paddlers around me. With a slow cleansing exhale, I waded into the water with my board, knowing that this would be the last time I'd touch land for over 8 hours.
We shoved our boards out, away from the sand, and it began to rain...
We kept paddling, moving together as a tight group, on a course across the bay. The squall passed, and the winds clocked around and pushed us gently along. The event coordinators surrounded us with volunteer captains, their boats and crews ready to offer assistance. We stopped together, grouped up, shared food and stories, and by the time we landed in Welfleet, I no longer felt alone.
The event has changed since that bay crossing 4 years ago, but on Saturday, July 29th we will once again be paddling to help Christopher's Haven, a home for kids and their families bravely facing and fighting cancer at Massachusetts General Hospital.
I can only imagine the fear and uncertainty I was feeling four years ago pales in comparison to what a child or their parent feels when facing a brain cancer diagnosis.
These patients come from around the world and stay for up to six weeks in Boston to receive a highly specialized proton radiation therapy at MGH. The protons are generated in small quantities in a lab at MIT and the treatment is capable of precisely targeting cancer cells while sparing the surrounding brain tissue.
Christopher's Haven removes the stress and financial burden of trying to find a short-term rental in Boston for these patients and their families. They are surrounded by an amazing staff that makes sure their stay is as warm and comfortable as it can be. The families support one another, become friends, and leave ringing the bell behind them, knowing they now have a larger family pulling for them.
I'll do the paddling, and together we will help make it possible for more families to call Christopher's Haven home.
Every donation, no matter what the size, will help Christopher's Haven's doors remain open and welcoming to families that truly need it.
Please, join me in supporting Christopher's Haven with your generous donation...