(Treasure Island, Fla.) - Created by Stage 4 kidney cancer survivor Gene Evans to promote the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle, the third annual "Paddle Against Cancer" is expected to bring together more than 150 local standup paddlers to support Moffitt Cancer Center on Saturday, May 25.
Evans, a senior vice president at Clearwater-based USAmeriBank, was inspired to create the paddleboarding event by his desire to give back to Moffitt and offer support for other cancer survivors. Last year's Paddle Against Cancer raised $21,000 for Moffitt, after the event raised $17,000 in 2011, its first year.
Free and open to the public, the 3-mile and 7-mile paddle event will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 25. All paddlers are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved flotation device.
The paddle will be followed by a poolside celebration from noon to 4 p.m., featuring giveaways, a live band, and free paddleboard demonstrations.
The paddle will begin and end at The Club at Treasure Island, at 400 Treasure Island Causeway in Treasure Island, which is also the site for the celebration. The 2012 event attracted more than 150 paddleboarders (up from 50 paddlers the first year), and a similar turnout is expected this year.
Evans was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney cancer in May 2009, and since then has recovered from four surgeries - including one to remove a tumor on his spine and another to remove one of his kidneys.
In Stage 4 kidney cancer, the cancer spreads outside the kidneys to multiple lymph nodes or distant parts of the body, such as the bones, brain, or lungs. Statistical figures show that the five-year survival rate for Stage 4 kidney cancer is only 8 percent. Evans, however, is a four-year survivor and attributes his successful fight against cancer to his positive attitude and active lifestyle.
"I am very pleased that our Paddle Against Cancer has grown in popularity each year, leading to more support for Moffitt," said Gene, 52, who played basketball at East Carolina University and then spent a number of years playing high-level beach volleyball. "I am a strong believer in the power of exercise, and I believe that this, combined with the excellent care I have received at Moffitt, has been a key to my successful battle against cancer."
"Gene continues to do very well, a testament to his lifestyle, attitude and spirit," said Frank Vrionis, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., and Chief of Neurosurgery at Moffitt who removed the tumor from Evans' spine. "He really is a model cancer survivor, and we greatly appreciate his support of our work at Moffitt."
The paddleboarders in the event will be making donations to Moffitt, and for others who would like to make a contribution, visit Moffitt.org/Giving and click on "Donate Now." Then, select "Individual Gifts" and choose "Paddle Against Cancer" from the "Support a Specific Program or Fund" dropdown. Or, click here.