In a somewhat splashy fundraising effort, a 24-hour stand-up relay paddle will take place in the waters off White Rock this weekend.
Surrey resident Scott Burton is the lead organizer of the Metro Vancouver-area chapter of “Monster and Sea 24,” which will again raise money for families dealing with cancer.
Starting at 8 a.m. Saturday (April 13), 26 volunteers will paddle for a full day, on and off, at four places in the region, including David Lam Park and Vanier Park in Vancouver, Deep Cove on the North Shore and, for the first time, White Rock’s West Beach.
The targeted end time is 8 a.m. Sunday (April 14), meaning several hours of “SUP”-style paddling in the dark for Burton and the others.
“We’re on water in groups of two for all 24 hours, and sometimes we all go out as a group of six,” he explained. “We’re all aware of the Mother Nature and the safety involved, and we all are experienced and prepared. We make it a safe event, and the weather forecast looks OK, a mixed bag like last weekend. Regardless, nothing compares to the tough times the people we are trying to help are going through.”
Launched in Seattle in 2015 with six paddlers led by Troy Nebeker, Monster and Sea (monsterandsea.com) has grown to include 40 teams in locations across North America, according to Burton.
“I paddled in White Rock that first day (in 2015), in Semiahmoo Bay, in support of the group in Seattle,” Burton told the Now-Leader. “I was friends with Troy on social media, and I got involved by doing my own little paddle. They raised $7,000 on their own, so I reached out and asked if I could get it going in Vancouver. We’ve now done three in Vancouver, and now we’re in White Rock, officially. The interest has just built and built, and more people are now interested to join and to donate.”
Semiahmoo Bay is Burton’s go-to place to paddle, because it’s relatively close to his Panorama-area home. “Usually I paddle using my hands only, which is called prone paddling,” said the father of two, an avid paddle-boarder since he first tried it in Hawaii in 2013.
In October of that year, Burton helped plan a World Paddle for the Planet satellite event in White Rock.
With Monster and Sea, the Vancouver-area teams have raised more than $40,000 over the past three years, “helping families as far west as Vancouver Island, as far east as Calgary, as far north as the Yukon Territories, and as far overseas as Northern Ireland, with many families being helped right here in the Lower Mainland,” according to a page at gofundme.com.
Donations are given in $1,000 increments to a person or family dealing with cancer, and how it’s spent is up to them to decide, Burton noted.
“This isn’t about research, this isn’t about finding a cure, this doesn’t go to a charity,” he said. “This is cash, in an envelope, put in the hands of folks who need it. It could help pay the utility bills, or buy some groceries, or maybe take the family away for a weekend to get a break from the chaos.”
In White Rock this weekend, the paddlers listed on the Go Fund Me page are Scott, Jim, Natalie, Mike, Tobey and Kristy.
“We’re not soliciting donations on the beach or anything like that, we are just paddling” Burton underlined. “Please support by coming down to say hi. We’ll be there all day, and night.”
To donate, visit gofundme.com/ms-24-vancouver-2019. The campaign will be active for two weeks after the paddle day, Burton noted.
Last spring, a Langley woman who received funding from the 2017 event wrote about Monster and Sea in a blog called This Cancer Adventure, and came out to paddle with the team at David Lam Park in Vancouver.
“That was amazing to see,” Burton recalled.