MUSKEGON, MI – More than 500 people turned out Saturday, July 11 for Standup for the Cure’s (SUFTC) inaugural visit to Muskegon, Michigan. With successful events in Newport Beach, California and Miami, Florida, the national organization, with urging from their partners, chose Muskegon, Michigan for the tour’s first Midwestern stop. Matching Southern California’s inaugural event in participation and fundraising, organizers were thrilled with the community support and generosity and are already looking to next year’s event. The event featured Standup paddleboard lessons from surfing legends Sunny Garcia and Kala Alexander, onsite breast cancer screenings, genetics’ counseling, yoga lessons, team and individual races, kids’ activities, a local vendor fitness expo, live music from Skeetown Style, and lunch and beverages.
“Our Mission is to have fun while saving lives” says SUFTC’s Dan Van Dyck, National Event Director. “To execute an event of this magnitude, you have to have the full support of the community. It’s a real team effort and Muskegon brought their “A Team” all the way! In the true spirit of Aloha, our crew of partners and volunteers pulled together to host a top notch event that benefits Susan G. Komen Michigan’s local breast cancer programs and contributes to the sustainable growth of our paddling Ohana (Hawaiian for “family”)!”
The event officially kicked off after a short program and Hawaiian blessing featuring Muskegon Vice Mayor Larry Spataro, Ginger Zee and Komen Michigan’s Executive Director and breast cancer survivor, Jennifer Jurgens. Every board and nearly every participant set out into Muskegon Lake from the event site at Harbour Towne Marina beach to form a “sea of pink” to show support for breast cancer efforts in West Michigan and pay tribute to survivors and victims of breast cancer.
“We are passionate about finding a cure” said Dianne Hoofman, Marketing Consultant for the Muskegon County Airport, SUFTC Event Co-Chair and Captain of the largest fundraising team for the event, raising $14,570 for the cause. “I’m very proud of my community and my team who put the FUN in Fundraising!”
“We could not have done this without support from the local businesses and organizations that trusted us, even though this was a brand new event” added Shawn Taylor, Financial Advisor for Raymond James and Co-Chair of the Event. “People took a chance and it paid off. I think everyone should save the date of July 9, 2016 for the 2nd annual SUFTC because it’s going to be even better.”
Overall, SUFTC raised $65,000.00 and, with the help of title sponsor Radiology Muskegon, screened approximately 30 participants for breast cancer. Ten of the women screened were contacted for follow-up mammograms and two were contacted for diagnostic mammograms due to palpable lumps found at the event. “What a great success” said Jennifer Jurgens, Komen Michigan’s Executive Director. “We helped women in Muskegon onsite with exams and the money raised by this event will help us continue to fund great programs in West Michigan, including our long-time program at Hackley Community Care Center that covers screening and diagnostics for women in Muskegon County. As a lakeshore resident I am so thrilled and honored to be part of a community that has so much passion and dedication. Together we will end breast cancer forever!”