Row for the Cure® History

Where it all began…

Row for the Cure®, with the support of USRowing, is the rowing and water-sports community’s crusade against breast cancer, raising over $2.7 million to benefit local communities through Susan G. Komen®. With one in eight women being diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, the need to fight this disease resonates clearly in rowing – a sport know for its “big boats” – 60-foot racing shells with eight rowers.

The inspiration of Portland, Oregon rower Kathy Frederick, the initial Row for the Cure® took place in 1993 on Portland’s Willamette River as a way for the rowing community to support runners and walkers participating in the Rose City’s Race for the Cure®. That first regatta raised a modest $1,500. In 2011, Row for the Cure incorporated as Rowing Cares and officially became a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit. 

Today, with multiple events in the United States and Europe, Row for the Cure® has blossomed into a multi-sport event that includes athletes of all ages and represents four sports: rowing, canoe/kayak, dragon boat and Native American paddling. With over 20 cities having hosted a Row for the Cure®, participants now raise over $300,000 annually, rowing and paddling together to save lives in their local communities.