ATLANTIC CITY – A memorial paddle-out is a powerful experience for anyone involved, both watching and participating. The Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation is allowing anyone who has been affected by cancer to paddle out at its 12th annual Paddle For a Cause presented by Seashore Construction.
All are invited to join and paddle out on a surfboard, paddleboard or anything that floats or simply watch from the dock to help honor or pay tribute to a friend or loved one.
The ceremony will begin at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, June 8 at Golden Nugget Atlantic City, to be followed immediately by the start of the 8-mile race and 4-mile and 8-mile fun paddles.
The memorial paddle out is a tradition in the surfing community to pay tribute and remember the spirit and legacy of someone. Friends and family members paddle into the ocean on their surfboards and paddleboards, create a circle by linking hands and then splash the water, say uplifting words and throw flowers or stones to commence the ceremony.
Last year, cancer foundation supporters paddled out in honor of their friend Karen Grant. She was a recipient of a grant from the foundation when she was first diagnosed with cancer. Through her recovery, Grant was committed to giving back to people with cancer through volunteering at events, working on the board as a trustee and raising more funds than anyone else at the 2017 Paddle For A Cause. The top overall fundraiser for this event every year now is presented with the Karen Grant award.
This year’s memorial paddle-out will be held in honor of Gregory S. Weber of Red Bank, who died in March of cancer. Weber was well known in the watersports community, especially for being one of the first representatives in the paddleboard industry with C4 Waterman and Boardworks Paddle Boards.
Weber was passionate about helping people and supporting the foundation. He provided paddleboard donations and helped create the Fish for a Cause and participated in the inaugural event. The Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation has also created the Gregory S. Weber Industry Award in his honor which will highlight the achievements of a select company or individual who helps contribute to the success of the foundation.
As a special tribute, engraved pocket stones are available for purchase on the cancer foundation website. Each stone will be etched with a custom message or name and can be cast into the bay during the ceremony or retained as a keepsake.
Stones are available for $20, with all proceeds from each purchase going directly to benefit the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation. The stones are natural and free from paint or color and can be purchased by visiting TheDRCF.org/honor. Stones will be distributed at 9:30 a.m. prior to the start of the ceremony.
The foundation was created in 2001 when Dean Randazzo, a professional surfer from Atlantic City, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes. Since successfully battling the disease four times, DRandazzo continues his competitive professional surfing career, proudly representing the Garden State all over the world.
The foundation works to promote cancer awareness and assists individuals battling cancer both emotionally and financially. To date, the foundation has raised more than $800,000 and donates 90 percent of its funds to individuals and organizations including the Ruth Newman Shapiro Cancer Fund, Shore Medical Center Cancer Center, Gilda’s Club of South Jersey and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of South Jersey Cape Regional Cancer Center and AtlantiCare Cancer Center.