By Brian Lichterman | Sports Editor
On Sept. 23, cancer survivor Jack Marshall Shimko began an epic, 150-mile paddling journey from Santa Barbara to Newport Beach – the first annual PADDLE2LIVE event to raise money for the battle against cancer.
The paddling endurance event will reach its end tomorrow, Oct. 2, with a 3.5-mile paddle through the bay.
Shimko made several stops en route to the finish line. He broke the journey into six legs starting in Santa Barbara, then 28.7 miles to Santa Cruz Island, 23.2 miles to Pilgrim Banks, 24.2 miles to Santa Barbara Island, 27.7 miles to Catalina Island, 22.2 miles to San Pedro, and finally 24.7 miles to Newport Beach.
The 30-year-old Shimko, a Newport Beach resident, is recovering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the body’s immune system. He was diagnosed days after his 29th birthday. Shimko has successfully completed chemotherapy and other treatments and is now in remission.
Shimko’s main sponsor for his journey is the Quiksilver Foundation. He is attempting his feat to raise $500,000 for the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Foundation Center and LIVESTRONG, the foundation created by cyclist Lance Armstrong.
Shimko founded PADDLE2LIVE as a non-profit cancer fundraiser to raise money and awareness and made the organization’s slogan, “It’s too easy to give up.”
To prepare for the inaugural event, Shimko competed in the 2009 World Paddleboard Championship in San Francisco. Being only 16 weeks into his 9-month chemotherapy treatments, Shimko suffered a mild hypothermia during the race and finished in last place.
He then returned to Southern California determined to come up with an even bigger endurance challenge to help fund cancer research.
Daily videos of Shimko’s progress are being uploaded to the website, www.paddle2live.org, by the mobile production crew Kennedy/Marhsall Co. An upcoming documentary featuring Shimko and other cancer survivors is also in the works. Local sponsors for the event include Duffy Boats, Balboa Boat Rentals, Bear Flag Fish Co. and the city of Newport Beach.
Once Shimko enters the bay, around 2 p.m. tomorrow, friends and family are welcome to join him in a 3.5-mile paddle through the bay, culminating with a celebration at the Newport Aquatic Center featuring barbeque from Bear Flag Fish Co., live music, a silent auction, refreshments and more.
To pledge support for PADDLE2LIVE or to view videos of Shimko and track his progress from Santa Barbara to Newport Beach, log on to www.paddle2live.org.