Paul Fraser discovered Row for the Cure like many of us in the rowing world have – at a tent, at a regatta, killing time before a race. But for Fraser, the timing was perfect. It was shortly after discovering that his mother, Wendy Ruth Fraser, was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
“I first became acquainted with Row for the Cure at a rainy, windy, and ultimately canceled regatta in Seattle,” said Fraser. “I distinctly remember the positivity, camaraderie, and sense that we as a rowing community were doing something right that morning. Even as boats, un-raced, were placed back on their racks, the feeling surrounding the regatta never faded.”
Fraser’s story is familiar but still powerful. Remembering his mother, he recalls her positivity, triumph, relief, recurrence, further treatment, and ultimately, her death.
“To watch as my gym-going, healthy-eating, positive-thinking mother became ever frailer, ever more detached and incapable of self-care was ugly,” Fraser said. “As treatment after treatment and indeed the disease itself took its toll, it became abundantly clear that while there are many triumphs over cancer, we still have a lot to learn and a long way to go.
“I do remember, however, that in a somewhat unique and slightly quirky British way – the NHS had given her $100 after every treatment to buy something nice for herself. Recognizing that cancer treatment is universally unpleasant, they had taken a small step to ease the pain a little, coax a smile from behind worried eyes and share in the understanding that this was a difficult battle to fight. This small act of kindness meant a lot to her and our family. It was a human gesture in the often far too clinical world of cancer treatment.”
That small act of kindness inspired Fraser to give back in a special way too and feels strongly that the strong teamwork and camaraderie found in rowing forms a powerful base to fight breast cancer.
“Many of us are feeling powerless during the pandemic,” Fraser said. “This is the perfect time to really help and make a difference throughout 2020. I had seen the need for further research, better treatment, and patient care, and I had also witnessed the unique pulling together of a sporting community working to make a difference, ease a burden and extend a kind hand of support to those fighting battles in the often lonely foxholes of the heart. I’m inspired by my mother every day, and I’m proud to support the work of Row for the Cure during Breast Cancer Awareness month and all year long.”
Written with love by Row for the Cure Brand Ambassadors Paul Fraser and Sarah Marshall
The month of October serves as an opportunity to educate the public on the importance of early detection and routine screenings for breast cancer and share stories of inspiration and hope from those whose lives have been affected by this disease. Row for the Cure and USRowing are proud to bring inspiring stories to the forefront that show us the significant role rowing can play in battling this disease – for the body and soul.
Throughout October, Row for the Cure and its partners are encouraging the rowing community to engage in the fight against Breast Cancer, by participating in the #PinktheBoathouse Challenge.
To learn more, click here.
To donate, click here.
About Row for the Cure
Founded in 1993 by Kathy Frederick, Row for the Cure is the rowing and water-sports community’s crusade against breast cancer, working with organizations that provide rowing for survivors and raising over $3 million to benefit local affiliates of Susan G. Komen through a series of regattas, indoor events and virtual challenges across the U.S. Funds raised in each community support local education, free screenings, follow-up treatments and many kinds of family support, as well as direct funding for cutting-edge research. Row for the Cure will work with local Komen affiliates and breast health organizations across the U.S. to distribute funds generated by the #PinktheBoathouse Challenge.