On Saturday, June 18, not only can local residents learn how to skimboard, they can help fight childhood cancer while they do.
Back again at the Delaware Sea Shore State Park is the Skim A Thon for Childhood Cancer, organized by Carolynn Vogel and the Get Well Gabby Foundation, in honor of her daughter Gabby Vogel, who passed away at the age of 5 after a battle with cancer.
“Basically, we’re looking for community support to be able to support the community,” said Vogel, noting that since Get Well Gabby’s inception, the fund has donated $98,000 to the A.I. duPont Hospital for Children’s Oncology Unit.
After promising a grant of $125,000 to go toward building a dedicated playroom in the Oncology Unit, a new electronic medical record system and supporting local families afflicted by cancer, Vogel said they’re hoping to fulfill that promise by the end of the summer.
At Skim A Thon, not only will proceeds from the event go toward that goal, but participants can help raise funds through social media beforehand to increase their chances of winning prizes donated by local businesses.
While skimming will dominate the day, there’ll also be lunch provided by Bethany Blues, games and awards given to the top fundraisers and raffle winners.
This year’s prizes include an Ashton surfboard donated by Atlantic Shoals Surf Shop, a skimboard donated by Exile Skimboards and plenty more.
“It just feels like kind of a big party. I have a great time, and I don’t even skimboard,” Vogel said with a laugh. “Everybody sort of hangs out. Kids give pointers to other kids — it’s fun to watch. It’s just a great day to hang out at the beach and support a good cause.”
While experienced skimmers are also being encouraged to join in on the activities, those new to the sport can learn the ropes from local pros and brothers Dave and Tom Bracht of RELYance Skim Camp.
Running RELYance for going on three years, the two brothers specialize in teaching both beginner and advanced skimmers, and will be providing 25 boards per session for newcomers.
“We met the Vogel family the first year we started our camps. Their daughters were leery of skimming, but throughout the week they overcame their fears, started riding out into the water and made new friends,” Dave Bracht said of the partnership. “After camp was over, we talked about joining forces with their organization to start an event to help kids with cancer.
“We are so blessed to be able to do what we do and be healthy, and we want to help the kids and families that are going through these really rough times.”
“Dave and Tom are fantastic,” said Vogel. “My girls took a summer camp with them one year, and they loved it. For anyone who’s not experienced with skimboarding, it’s a great way to try the sport without making a huge commitment, and help a cause at the same time.”
The instructional sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to noon and 1-3 p.m., but experienced skimmers are being encouraged to come by at any point during the event (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.).
Registration costs $15 per person or $25 for the instructional session, with all proceeds going to the cause. To sign up, head to http://getwellgabby.kintera.org/skimathon2016. For more on Get Well Gabby visit www.getweelgabby.org, and more on RELYance check out www.relyanceskimcamp.com.