Monday, January 7, 2013

Sun, Surf, Sand, and Sharks!

Last January I was glancing through some posts on a Thyroid Cancer support group forum on Facebook. When I happened across a post from a fellow Thycan.  The year before she was sent on an amazing trip to learn to surf by an organization named First Descents. She urged all of us who were young adults to apply for the program with the promise that it was amazing...

What is First Descents?
First Descents is a nonprofit that sends young adult cancer survivors on a week long adventure trip. Once accepted they give you the option of 3 activities. They offer Kayaking, Rock climbing, and Surfing. They have programs all across the country to pick from. They stress that there are no limitations. they work with every ability range you can think of. You do not need any experience with any of these sports, they take you out and teach you everything you need to know to succeed!
To learn more about their amazing foundation and its founder, world famous Kayaker Brad Ludden please look here:

I spent the evening on their website, unsure if I should apply. I would pull up the application form then close it to just turn around and open it again. Why would they pick me anyway?  Everyone says I have the easy cancer. The easy cancer doesn't count like the more serious cancers, so why would they want me? 
After some aback and forth and not being able to get this program off of my mind I finally applied.  Whats the most terrible thing that could happen? They could tell me no.   I immediately sent a PM to my good pal Annalee. She was a fellow mommy friend from Canada who has been kicking Bladder cancer in the ass.  She applied as quickly as she could.  We texted back and forth the next couple of days when I finally received a call.  I was accepted... all I had to do was pick a program and a location!  I chose Surfing in Santa Barbara, California!  I immediately texted Annalee... who was on the phone with First Descents while I was texting her. I told her which program I picked and the date.  Unfortunately my program was full. Annalee had the choice to wait list for my trip or plan another trip of her own to North Carolina to surf... She chose to wait list for mine in the hopes that someone else would cancel and we could meet in person for the first time.
Annalee and I met in an online Mommies forum for people who were pregnant and due in March of 2008. Unbeknownst to either of us that we would bond in ways way beyond the age of our due dates and children's birth dates.  Annalee was diagnosed before me and became a great source of strength and inspiration to me when I was diagnosed in 2011.
After months of waiting she finally got the call from First Descents that she was officially going to Santa Barbara surf camp with me!

One thing we had to to was to pick a nickname for camp.  Annalee chose Bruce McSharkbite, I on the other hand was lost! I had no idea what to name myself.  I decided to go to camp and let my fellow campers name me.  Bruce and I shared months and months of excitement for our exciting adventure.  I could not wait to meet her, and give her the biggest hug ever! We have known each other online since 2007... this meeting spent a long time coming but we knew it was coming!

This trip taught me so many things.  It allowed me to do things I never dreamed possible. I always considered my weight a limit. I could never surf... Have you ever seen a fat girl surf? Not likely. I always dreamed of traveling to California, but never imagined it would happen, I always wanted to fly, never thought it would happen, I always wanted to put my feet in the cool ocean water, feel the power of the waves. I just dismissed these as things that would never come to be.
First Descents made it all possible!

Oh... and yes, fat girls can surf!!

To be continued!

No comments: