Nearly everyone is affected by breast cancer in some way. Maybe a co-worker, a friend, or family member has had to fight against it. Maybe you yourself have been diagnosed. Millions of people are affected by this disease and millions more are joining in the fight against it through awareness, fundraising, and general support.
Sammamish Rowing Association has had members diagnosed with this disease so this fight is a personal one. In recent years we have had incredible members who have gotten our club more involved in the local Seattle Row for the Cure event. This event is a regatta and fundraiser committed to raising awareness and funds for breast cancer screenings, research, and support. Over the years we've sent countless rowers to participate in the regatta, and we've gotten more serious about fundraising.
With about a week until the regatta this September, SRA had passed the $10,000 fundraising mark, hitting out initial goal and earning a pink erg for our erg room. Mid-Morning rower, Birgit Bertram, had set up SRA's overall fundraising page and members could create their own sub-pages to solicit donations from friends, family, and colleagues.
As we surpassed the $10,000 mark, the RFTC team came to us with a new goal. If we raised $20,000, we could have two pink ergs! We accepted their challenge and in the end we raised a total of $23,728! This was an incredible show of support in the fight against breast cancer and it was truly a team effort.
Our top fundraiser was junior rower, Andreas Giakoumakis, who raised $4,002. Andreas began rowing in 6th grade and currently rows with the Experienced Junior Boys Team. He loves his friends and coaches who make SRA an amazing place to be.
When asked why he decided to fundraise for RFTC, Andreas said, "My mom, who is a two-time breast cancer survivor, mainly inspired me to raise money for RFTC, and at first I didn’t think I would raise more than 500 dollars, but everyone exceeded my expectations. I think it is important to raise money for breast cancer research so it can be detected early, and less people and families can be affected."
"I love how my mom is very understanding and kind," he added. We have to admit, we appreciate how kind and understanding Andreas is and our staff members are so proud of his hard work and dedication to the cause.
To everyone who helped us reach this milestone, and for all those committed to the cause of defeating breast cancer- thank you for your incredible support this year. Get ready to break more records in 2023!
This month, SRA added a familiar face to our full-time staff. Many rowers from our junior and masters teams will remember learning the basics of rowing with Sydney Colburn. Sydney spent many summers coaching our middle school programs, Row for a Day classes, and Learn to Row sessions. Sydney has a wealth of knowledge for building a strong rowing foundation for rowers and has supported several SRA teams.
Sydney joined SRA in the spring of 2014 looking for a new activity outside of soccer and karate. After checking out SRA because a friend rowed, Sydney instantly fell in love with the sport, eventually graduating from the junior rowing program. “My favorite memory at SRA is my first year on the experienced high school team. I was in the 3V (our lowest boat at the time), but we were completely undefeated over the course of the season. It was such a fun boat and I still think about those races and how much fun they were.”
Sydney recently graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts, double majoring in Linguistics and History, with a minor in American Sign Language. During their time at UC San Diego, Sydney also rowed for four years with the Women's Rowing team.
When asked what they love about the sport and what they’re looking forward to with SRA, Sydney said, "I love everything about rowing. I love how much effort you have to put into the sport. I love how unique and specialized it is. I love being out on the water early in the morning when everything is calm and you can hear the birds. I love the sounds of the slides and the oarlocks and the blade slipping out of the water. I love how close a group of people gets when preparing to race together, and how rowing requires the entire boat to work as one – it's the ultimate team sport. Now, as a coach, I love teaching the sport and watching people fall in love with rowing just like I did." We couldn’t agree more!
Sydney joins as our Learn to Row Coordinator and as an assistant coach for our junior girls and masters teams. Having worked with many first-time rowers, they offered some advice. "My best piece of advice for a new rower would be to have patience – in themselves, their teammates, and their coaches. Rowing is a very difficult sport and it takes a long time to get good at it, so don't expect to figure everything out right away."
Join us in welcoming Sydney back to our community! We look forward to many wonderful rowing sessions on the lake and the joy of rowers falling in love with the sport thanks to Sydney’s guidance.