How to Support a Young Adult Cancer Survivor When You’ll Never Truly “Get It”

How to Support a Young Adult Cancer Survivor When You’ll Never Truly “Get It”

At Camp Koru, we so often hear our campers say, "Non-survivors don't get it," meaning those of us who've never had cancer don't understand survivorship...and the challenges that come with it.

That lack of understanding by friends and loved ones is a burden. It can not only make survivors feel isolated; it also burdens them with having to explain their challenges - to give examples or try to find the words that just don’t do the feeling justice.

11th Annual Kiteboard 4 Cancer

Our 11th Annual Kiteboard 4 Cancer (KB4C), powered by Patagonia, raised an amazing $192,948 for Project Koru! Project Koru, an Oregon-based nonprofit, runs outdoor-based programming to help young adult survivors move forward in life after cancer. This year’s KB4C also had a record number of participant kiteboarders, with total registrations hitting 249! About 25 kiteboarders either crossed lines or fumbled with other kites in the first 5 laps of the race – when there is the most kite traffic in the race. All kiters safely navigated out of tangles and continued the race.

Kiteboard 4 Cancer kicked off on Friday night with the Annual Kickoff Party, sponsored by Full Sail Brewing. It was a celebration for visitors, athletes, and Project Koru survivors. The band Ten30 rocked the outdoor space at Kickstand Coffee & Kitchen’s, which was expanded for the night to accommodate 300+ attendees.

From the Jetty on the ground:

Just as the first 20 or so kites rounded the first buoy, a bottle-necking ensued! The shifting wind shadow combined with the narrow channel by the jetty created a bottleneck in the middle of the pack. This resulted in tangling kiter carnage on the inside right in front of the event site. Fortunately, this is the one of the safest events and places to get tangled (if you’re going to have a kite tangle) because of the great support from the safety team, event staff, and each kiter on the water. Experienced kiteboarders finessed their way through tangles, weaving their bodies through lines and coming out clean on the other side. More complicated tangles were picked up by event staff at the beach or the jet ski support provided by Cascade Kiteboarding.

Check out the complete Kite Derby results.

There were also tons of activities on the beachfront for spectators all day, including live bands, a kids art tent, silent auction, Memory Wall, Survivors’ Camp Koru lounge, and even a live graffiti artist!

On Sunday, the festivities continued with the Never-Ever-Kiteboarded Race, the Rubber Ducky race, the egg toss, and more kiteboarding!

Kiteboard 4 Cancer event sponsors make this event extra special, and this year was no exception. In addition to being our Title sponsor, Patagonia gave a Yulex wetsuit, a custom RideEngine harness honoring One Way — the story of employee and breast-cancer survivor Michelle Grinsel, a Fletcher Chouinard Designs (FCD) Kite surfboard, and an FCD Surfboard for the Live Auction.

Hood River apparel and sport accessory company Dakine donated all the athlete bags, which came filled with goodies from RX BarSol SunscreenLiquid Force (limited edition KB4C hats) and Spacecraft boards for our top winners, Camelbak water bottles donated by 2nd Wind Sports of Hood RiverSurfsweetsKiteworld and The Kiteboarder Magazines, Columbia Gorge Organics, and Dang Coconut Chips.

Full Sail BrewingOne Breathe KombuchaStoked Roasters, and Arctic Glacier Water provided beverages for participants and spectators. Local catering companies Apple Valley BBQ and head chef from Camp Koru, Ahi from Ahi’s Ohana provided food and fuel for participants.

For our auctions, prizes, and raffles, sponsors kicked in big time! We cannot thank enough YETI for some amazing coolers and ramblers, Palapas Ventana for a trip for the winning fundraiser, Airush Kites for a beautiful kitesurfboard and a Lithium kite, Vela for a trip for two to a winning fundraiser, F One and Manerafor a harness and an F One twin tip kiteboard, Pistil for our lap counter hats and beautiful hats and accessories for the raffle, and Full Sail Brewing for beer and pub gift certificates for our top derby finishers.

Special thanks to Patagonia, Avangrid Renewables, Doug Sports, Apothecanna / Gorge Greenery, Full Sail Brewing, Columbia Pain Management, Evergreen Home Loans, Letters to Me, Cabrinha Kiteboarding, North Kiteboarding, Ride Engine, Providence Cancer Center, CORE Kites, Tonkin Subaru, for making it possible for us to put on this event!