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WHIPLASH
You think to yourself - no problem. If someone hauled off and punched me right in the mouth - I could take it. My head might snap back a little and I might get a little dizzy but - go ahead, give it your best shot.
And then it happens. You know its coming but you don’t see it. Your chin is the first to feel it. The bare knuckle disquised in the words mild disease progression in 1 lymphnode. It digs into your skin and pushes your lip deep into your teeth. All the reflex muscles in your face react at once. Eyes close, nostrils flair to suck in as much air as possible and all goes quiet.
The dull pain in the back of your head snaps your eyes open and in that moment you have a decision.
Shake it off and fight like hell or run.
If you are Jim Brown you only know one way to answer. His first line treatment paired with his lust for life and perseverance has carried him to this point. Defying odds and taking names. 
Now he is stepping to the second line. As an athlete and firefighter there is no quit and the only option of running - is to stay in shape.
He signs off every update with
I am a warrior.
I am the exception.
I am a thriver.
I choose the miracle.
Hold fast Jim Brown. Hold fast.
All it takes is a spark.
The 24.

A very single minded grassroots goal: Do what you love to inspire your community to help families dealing with cancer. To prove the idea the 24 was born. A relay team of 6 paddlers, out on the water for 24 hours, surrounded by their community cheering them on.
Results so far - 
Year one: $7,000.00 which meant 7 families each received envelopes with $1,000.00 and an note saying: There is a community of people who love you and are fighting for you.
What started as a crazy idea has turned into an organic movement, with friends offering to spread the word and create their own event in the places they call home.
Year two: 7 teams in 7 cities across the U.S and Canada all paddling for their community. In total we raised $48,000.00 which equals a lot of envelopes and cards.
Which brings us to year three. 14 teams / cities and growing. Paddlers of all kinds. SUP, OC, Prone.
This simple idea is very special and as one person it is difficult to make a difference - but as a community - that is where it gets fun and where we truly make an impact. Starting Monster and Sea has been a wonderful journey. And the community has grown organically around our tag #gobecauseyoucan. Paddlers, runners, skiers, snowboarders, skaters, travelers - 23,000+ of you who understand how fragile life is. And how important it is to pursue life to the fullest and give back to those who can’t.
To give you an idea of the impact a simple idea has. This note was left under a windshield because the car had a Monster and Sea sticker.
A few months ago I had a chat with Jen. Her father had just died from cancer and she wanted to throw her energy into our cause.  Over dinner we talked about how this disease throws your life into chaos, how it changes you and provides the gift of clarity you often can find on any given day.  But we also talked about how to build on the 24, how we could encourage and enable people who live #gobecauseyoucan and want to give back. We don't have it all figured out yet but we are committed to experimenting. 
This is where you come in.
The first experiment will happen on 4/15 in San Francisco, as the first non SUP M&S event.
This time it will be a run...maybe on trails, maybe down a coast. 12 runners, over 12 hours. Details are still coming together and if you live there, email Jen to give her a hand (Jennreddy27@gmail.com).  She's in the process of pulling this together and would love to have you jump in.
The goal is to see what we can do and create a blueprint for others to take this concept and make it their own. Nothing fancy, or complicated. 
Rally your friends - do what you love for the benefit of families who are dealing with the wrecking ball of cancer.  
Lets see if this little spark of an idea can catch fire.
  • SPEED
  • Troy Nebeker
SPEED
For just a moment - close your eyes and think about the best hug you have ever received. Giant Baloo the bear style - warm, safe and leaving you feeling all is right with the world.
That’s what it is like to walk in the door at the Burke house. Surrounded by the treasures of life, it is a wonderful thing to see your friend openly love on his family. The boys shuffled down the hall, yawning and working out the kinks from a long but not long enough nights sleep. 
I had my back to them but couldn’t help but notice how Deans eyes brightened as they rounded the corner. Conversations started but were quickly shut down - arms open wide - hugs and good morning I love you’s were first priority. 
As we sat and talked story about our sunrise paddle - my mind sort of had many of our other conversations on replay. Our kids and how fast the time goes. When they are born you are well outside your comfort zone. Driving 2 mph home from the hospital cursing humanity around you for their lead footed ways. Blink and they go from that double hand around the neck hug - (you know the kind - those little hands patting the back of your neck.) To wanting you to walk just a few steps behind as they head off to school.  Then blink again and 18 shows up. It is sort of like a kick in the gut you can see coming. 
Where does it go? Time. It goes so fast. 
Dad. I love you.
I love you too my boy.
See you tonight after work.
I’ll wait up.
YOUNG AND BULLET PROOF
16, 18, 21. All hallmark years that are forever etched in your memory. My first car was a 1974 Super Beatle, metallic green. Can still smell the motor. It carried me to college where my actions were truly my own. Almost. Still had the distant safety net of home - but didn’t want it any more. Then came adult time. A right of passage of sorts. You are now looking at the world with wider eyes. Wondering what will be next.
Cancer has a way of tossing a wrench in things. More like a wrecking ball if you want to really get down to it. Difficult to face at any age - but as a young adult - to have your resolve abused and put to the ultimate test. It can break you.
But only if you let it.
Dori has a sparkle in her eyes. Bright and beyond her years. She has a quick smile and a thoughtfulness to her answers that only comes from someone who has been down some dark roads. To hear her say “the scariest part of my diagnosis was the doctors sort of expected me to die” - it shook me to the core. Such a matter of fact statement coming across the table. But true to that sparkle - Dori added “before they knew me.”
This was her 21. Wondering what will be next. 
Cancer and the doctors underestimated who they were getting to know. 
“Without the knowledge I have now I probably wouldn’t be writing this. I didn’t realize it at the time but my body was more afraid of chemo than the cancer. They continued anyways, they used a chemo that was meant to kill every cell in my body without killing me in the process. They killed a lot of good cells but the bad still remained.
Since that day they told me there was nothing left to be done. Since that day they told me I should just keep doing more chemo. I remember in that moment thinking - I am determined to prove them wrong. I wasn’t going to die. - not on my watch.
I was able to control my diet and with supplements I worked hard to reverse everything. When I tell this to random doctors and nurses they act shocked, it makes me laugh. It’s so simple it’s stupid. You cut out cancers food supply, (sugar)  - you cut out the cancer. And with my type of blood cancer - it worked.”
AN ATHLETES MIND.
Knowing how to suffer is a badge of honor in the sports arena. Pushing your body to the limit and then asking more. Basically, you get used to being an exhausted sometimes vomiting mess. All in the name of getting better, faster and stronger. 
Minus the badge of “athlete" - this isn’t much different than becoming a survivor. Sports helped Dori to understand her body and how hard it could be pushed. The love for the outdoors kept her going.
“Cancer free,’ I’ve heard that twice during the last two years and have gone through 5 different chemo treatments since then. Is there really such a thing as cancer free? It’s the main struggle everyone battling cancer thinks about at one point or another. Being able to live life, and hopefully enjoy life, to the fullest.
Every time I feel a bump or have my lymph nodes swell, my heart sinks. Even if it’s not cancerous you always have that thought in the back of your mind no matter how many people tell you to think positive or how may prayers go out. Just living every day to the fullest is at the same time the most corny and yet the truest thing I’ve learned.
Genuine love and experience with people I love is what matters most. I don’t like the dated stereotype where everyone who has cancer has to look sick or can’t move. That’s why I haven’t limited myself based on what people think I should do or how a “cancer patient” should act. Most of society has no idea what it’s like and that’s a blessing. Every day is different, some days I feel like my old self and other days I feel like I got hit by a bus - but the one thing I refuse to let cancer take away from me is my passion to live. I’m not going to let it take away any life goals or traveling or having fun with friends or being the person I want to be; the goals most take for granted.
Everyone has their opinion on how everyone else should live their lives but I’m focusing on making myself the best version of me I can be. I don’t want to be treated like anything other than what I am. A determined, sarcastic, strong willed, caring person that knows her purpose in this life - and that is to live it to its fullest.
And that’s all I gotta say about that.” ~ Dori
SILVER LININGS 
Knowing who you are now - would you change things? This is one of those hypothetical questions that can be sort of hokey. No one in their right mind is going to answer - I love cancer and wouldn’t change a thing. 
But with the ability to look at life through the lens of life changing circumstances - I will leave you with three things.
“Cancer has really changed me. It is much less about me and is now about finding purpose to help other young adults dealing with the same issues and challenges.”
“My heart has connected with so many incredible people, the thing I’m most thankful for is everyone’s amazing will to live life and not just survive. There’s nothing more motivational than to see someone who has had a harder time but still has more will to live than any other person I know. My heart will always be with every single one of them, and for that I am greatful.”
Be quick to smile, search for the sparkle in peoples eyes, give till you can’t anymore and then give more.
Go because you can.
Thank you Dori for an inspiring afternoon.
If you have the opportunity and would like to help Dori help others have a look:
https://support.firstdescents.org/fundraise?fcid=844037
A day trip is good for the noggin

Life is one of those things that adds up after awhile. Little bits of weight that if left unchecked can pile into a crushing amount.

An angry exchange with a stranger, can't find your keys for the 300th time, car won't start, sure wish I could find a job, more month than money, all I wanted was a Pepsi - eventually you crack. 

Then a wonderful thing happens - the text machine fires up and your friends say "lets hit the coast!" The waves may or may not be firing - but who cares, let's go any way - shed some weight.

Such was the case this weekend. Loaded up the truck and hit the road. A few hours later, pulled into the parking lot and spied the familiar smile of a good friend.  Have learned a lot from him over the years - how to read the water, paddle straight, try new things like prone and be reminded of the joy of young kids as he raises his little boy.

Now if you have spent some time in the PNW, especially in the long winter months - you pretty much expect rain. It just comes with the territory. Sometimes its a mist, but as luck would have it - pitch black and dumping were in the cards. We set up camp and lights out.

6:30 a.m came quicker than expected and a knock, knock on the window - followed by a half asleep search for the unlock button - followed by the car alarm (sorry about that other campers) and we were off for surf check.

Earlier in the week some sweet shots were posted of the same place - and in the back of your mind you are always secretly hoping that the surf decided to hang around for you. "You shoulda been here yesterday" quickly filled the eyeballs. Nuthin.

Back down the road only to be met by a big white truck driving down the middle - forcing a stop. Down goes the window - "Howdy partner - seems you were staying at the camp ground and left without paying." my reply - "Good morning! Nice to see you. We came in late last night - had a lovely talk with the night camp host (paid our money - its in the slot) and also told her we were going to adventure out for an early surf check. There was nothing so we are headed back." As good fortune would have it - standing in the office to clarify what we had just told the fine gentleman in the truck - the phone rang and it was the night host. Our story checked out. 

The waves were a bit messy and all over the place but being out in it - and surrounded by fellow crazies makes for good fun. It is a wonderful thing, a dose of salt water and smiles from the line up - and all that weight that was heavy just a day before - gone, gone.

 

 

  • Peace
  • Troy Nebeker
Peace

Everyone has that one place to duck and cover from chaos. For me it happens to be the water. Grabbing a board of choice or just finding a patch of sand to sit - there is something about how it calms all the senses. The sounds replacing fear, the smell replacing doubt, how when you step in—everything else just seems to go by the wayside. 

My hope for you today is that if things are crazy - grab your family, your friends and disappear to your place.

On the horizon

Dear friends of the sea,

It has been awhile since I have written here. The biggest reason for the gap is really trying to make sure to stick to our rally cry of "Go Because You Can."

Those simple words have a way of kicking you out the door and making sure the things you enjoy are high on the priority list. Family, friends, adventures. With out these things, life can get a bit overwhelming.

In the coming months some wonderful things are planned all with the goal of taking that idea to the next level. Inspiring you to go and to help families who are dealing with the wrecking ball of cancer.

Thank you for your continued support.

 

Troy

 

You are not alone.

What does a conversation sound like when it becomes heavy? For me it was like water filling my ears. That slow burn where things become muffled and words drown out the deeper you go. You can hear your own heart beat become irregular - boom, boom, skip, silence --- Boom.

Honey I have cancer. Like screaming underwater - you can hear what your wife is saying but does anyone else? The world seems to roll on by like nothing is happening. It is very confusing, stressful and terrifying.

If you have heard those words know that you are not alone. Make a phone call. Send an email. Count on your friends, family and faith. Reach out.

You will be surprised who takes your hand and says - Let's get through this together.

 

We hear you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 10%
  • Troy Nebeker
10%

“People who’ve never read fairy tales" the professor said, "have a harder time coping in life than the people who have. They don’t have access to all the lessons that can be learned from the journeys through the dark woods and the kindness of strangers treated decently, the knowledge that can be gained from the company and example of Donkey skins and cats wearing boots and steadfast tin soldiers. I’m not talking about in-your-face lessons, but more subtle ones. The kinds that seep up from your subconscious and give you moral and humane structures for your life. That teaches you how to prevail, and trust.” ---- Author Charles de Lint. The Onion Girl

How to prevail, and trust is my favorite part. Cancer has taught this well and why 10% isn't a negotiable part of what we are about. 90% is easy. It is the last 10% that is the difference between doing something good and doing something that matters.

So what does that look like. A shirt costs 8 dollars to produce and sells for 20.00.

10% of 20.00 is 2.00. Which leaves 18.00 - 8.00 = 10.00 which goes back into making more shirts.

One shirt, like one person - struggles to make a difference. But a community? That's where things start to happen.

We can do things that matter.

 

 

Give back.

As one person it is difficult to feel like you can make a difference. A magical thing happens when you surround yourself with others who feel the same way. Suddenly you have a community. There is strength in that. It is amazing and humbling what you can do.

Today we did what we loved and were able to lend a hand to a family in need. A beautiful day to paddle for Raelyn Beckler.

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