Kristin Smith, our amazing secretary, works as a Patient Navigator for Fertility Preservation at the Robert H Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University. She basically meets with all young, newly diagnosed cancer patients at the hospital to discuss the implications cancer treatment will have on fertility and help the patient to explore options for fertility preservation. Through this position, she has witnessed the very unique needs of this patient population and had the opportunity to meet many amazing organizations that are trying to change this! True North Treks (TNT) is one of those organizations and the founder, David Victorson, PhD, is an avid surfing/outdoor enthusiast. TNT provides free, week-long backpacking and canoeing treks in nature for young adults with cancer to help them ‘get back on track’ after cancer treatment. One of those patients wrote about her story here. Once David and Kristin both learned they loved the water, they decided they could do some pretty amazing things with the young adult community in Chicago and that is where the idea for a Stand Up Paddleboard Race, Ride & Relay to benefit young adult cancer survivors was born (SUP for YACS). 

We partnered with Chicago SUP and racing expert Dave Olson of Kayak Chicago to kick off the 2012 event and brought in over 80 registrants to raise over $2000. With his help again, our second event was a huge success and we're proud to say we raised over $10,000 for True North Treks and the cancer center at Northwestern. It wasn’t the best day to SUP but that didn’t stop some really awesome racing from going on. After much feedback from last year’s race, 3 mile racers were divided into 'Elite' and 'Ride & Glide' so that participants could race against others using similar boards and with similar racing experience. We did some course modification in the morning to accommodate the 3–5 foot waves that were pumping at Montrose Beach in the morning. The revised course required 3 laps from the elite group and 1 lap from the ride and glide group. It was exciting to be able to see some of these amazing racers slice through the water with precision! We also held a clinic over in the harbor so those new to SUP could have a nice day in the water without the challenging waves! The Kid’s sprint went off without a hitch and the kids had a great time! The 4 person relay, new to this year’s event, was amazingly fun to watch — 7 teams participated and it was neck and neck for most of the race. 

We couldn’t have held this even without the help of many key people. 
Shutter+Awe Photography captured amazing photos and videos throughout the day. Thank you Antoinette Rodriguez, Trevor Gerring and Aaron Syler! (video to come) 

360 Body Gears sponsored the day and offered free athletic screenings and massages to race participants. Thank you Janna Sobol! 

Pacifico Cerveza sponsored many of the raffle prizes and the entire after party — they are the reason we all got to rock out with South of 80 and enjoy delicious beer while doing it! 

Vita Coco brought their whole set up and passed out free coconut water to the crowd. 

Jonny Imerman, founder of Imerman Angels, MC'ed the day and kept us all thoroughly entertained. 

StarBoard rep and SUP extraordinaire, Matt Lennert, helped by donating raffle prizes and race day set up. 

Duane Hanson brought the sound to the beach by ensuring we had a great soundtrack and could hear our awesome MC! 

Katie Lewitt got so many of our amazing raffle prizes lined up for us and our raffle would not have been the same without her! 

Thank you to Mary Lou Cerami for providing FREE IndoBoard Yoga on the Beach!! 

We had a whole host of volunteers helping this year that honestly made the event so much better. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to be there and do whatever was necessary early on a chilly Saturday morning!