The Hope Floats Kayak Challenge Aug. 19 near Geneva will benefit local Wilmot Cancer Center and Thrive to Survive
GENEVA — When Chuck Little took on the task of organizing the Hope Floats Kayak Challenge, he had two goals — “to raise a bunch of money and break the existing world record,” he said. He hopes 3,150 people will join him in that challenge on Aug. 19.
The Hope Floats Kayak Challenge, an attempt to break the world record of the largest raft of canoes and kayaks free-floating for at least 30 seconds, will be held Saturday, Aug. 19, on Seneca Lake. The world record is held by “One Mile Square Mile of Hope,” established on Sept. 13, 2014, on Fourth Lake in Inlet, Hamilton County, where 3,150 canoes, kayaks and guideboats joined together to shatter a Guinness World Record. The boats, held together only by hands, fulfilled a Guinness rule by free-floating for at least 30 seconds.
This year the Hope Floats Kayak Challenge organizers hope to break the 2014 record.
Little said he’s been canoeing for as long as he can remember. When he and his team of volunteers began putting together the kayak challenge, they knew they wanted the event to be a fundraiser for local charities. They chose Wilmot Cancer Center and Thrive To Survive as the charities to receive the event’s support. Hope Floats President Tammy Williams is a lead radiation therapist for UR/Noyes Radiation Oncology.
“Tammy is very passionate about assisting people who need help,” said Little. “Wilmot Cancer Institute provides assistance to cancer patients by way of patient-needed funds. The decision was hers to make, and our committee agreed.”
The other designated charity, Thrive To Survive, was started in 2012 by Jen Harris; her sister-in- law, Pam Venuti; and their good friend, Roseann Moffe. They came up with the idea after seeing a direct need for support and services for adults with cancer.
“In 2010, my son, Max, then 10, was diagnosed with brain cancer. At the same time, Pam's brother, Matt, 36, had a recurrence with a malignant brain tumor,” said Harris. “We received an outpouring of support and services because Max was a child, but Matt and his family had the direct opposite experience. They searched and searched for support, and were unable to find any outside of family and friends. Although Matt and Max were going through the same grueling chemo and radiation therapies, Matt was still responsible for bills, and family, with no organizations that helped. He passed away in January 2012, and Pam and I saw that something good had to come from us going through the experiences together. Using Matt's motto to ‘thrive,’ Thrive To Survive was born.”
Now in its fifth year, the group services adults with cancer in treatment in Geneva, Seneca Falls, Waterloo, Phelps, Clifton Springs, Stanley, Dundee and Penn Yan.
“When Chuck and the crew decided to have Thrive To Survive as a secondary recipient for some of the funds received, I was in awe,” said Harris. “We can't thank them enough.”
The event will be held at Lakefront Park in Geneva on Seneca Lake. Little said the idea to hold the event in Geneva was an easy one.
“Geneva was the perfect spot,” he said. “There is easy access to Seneca Lake from Lakefront Park, plus there are plenty of places to stay between hotels and campgrounds, and there are some of the finest area shops, wineries, breweries and restaurants for people to explore. In my opinion there is no prettier place in all of the Finger Lakes that provides so much to enjoy. The decision was easy.”
The event has been a team effort, with a committee of volunteers from Mt. Morris, Dansville, Howard, Cohocton, Bloomfield, Canandaigua, Conesus and Geneva helping out, Little said.
“Our team of volunteers have stepped up, missed time from family, and taken time off from work, all for the hopes of breaking a record and raising some money,” he said. “My friends, old and new, are my true reward, and the journey will exceed the destination. I hope we raise a bunch of money and break the existing world record, but if we don't, I know I am a better person because of the people who have become ‘Hope Floats.’”
If you go
WHAT Hope Floats Kayak Challenge
WHEN Saturday, Aug. 19; registration 7 to 10 a.m., with world-record attempt starting at noon
WHERE Lakefront Park, off Routes 5 and 20, Geneva
COST $30 per person