CAPITAL DISTRICT Last year, Mark Wells of Mechanicville set out to gather some kayakers in support of research for mesothelioma, a rare cancer that his daughter Linda, 26, has been battling for more than a decade.
Wells wound up with a handful of folks willing to hit the Hudson River with him for Kayaking 4 a Cure, and this year he aims to change that number in a big way. The event, which will be held Saturday, Sept. 22, will benefit the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Alexandria, Va.
“My main concern is that funding for cancer is lopsided," said Wells adding that when it comes to earmarking money for mesothelioma, there is perhaps less exposure for it than other cancers.
He said a kayaking event seemed like a good option for a fundraiser because it was something different than walks or runs.
“I fell in love with it (kayaking) and had seen a lot of other people doing events, and thought, ‘Why not kayaking?’ It seems like people are liking the idea,” said Wells.
Kayakers (single or tandem) can choose to launch from Schuylerville (at 8 a.m.) or Stillwater (at noon) and paddle their way to the Mechanicville boat dock. Non-kayaking supporters can also meet up at the Mechanicville dock to wait for paddlers and take part in family-friendly activities from 1-4 p.m.
According to Maja Belamaric, director of communications for the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, based in Alexandria, Virginia, the disease is the result of asbestos exposure and affects the lining of the body’s organs. It strikes approximately 3,000 people every year and around the same number succumb to the disease.
She said the foundation aims to eradicate mesothelioma and the suffering it causes, and inform patients and their families about the disease, as well as provide them with resources.