Boarding for Breast Cancer celebrates fourth year Saturday |

Boarding for Breast Cancer celebrates fourth year Saturday

The image of snowboarding is young, risk-taking, invincible.

Snowboarders worry about career-ending knee injuries, not life-threatening illnesses. That invincible image was shaken when one of the industry’s leading clothing designers was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 28.

Monica Steward took her diagnosis and found a positive outlet. She dedicated herself to spreading awareness among the 20-something age group. Her peer group responded and in a short time the concept of Boarding For Breast Cancer was born. Steward never lived to see the snowboard and music festival materialize. She died right before the first event in 1996 – the same year she was diagnosed.

This Saturday will be the fourth year the festival will be held at Sierra-at-Tahoe. Proceeds from the day will go toward breast cancer research and educational projects.

Professional snowboarder Shannon Dunn was there at the start.

“It was very exciting. We didn’t really know what to expect and it came together really well. We had a lot of support from really great bands like the Beastie Boys, and we raised a lot of awareness,” she said.

Before Steward’s diagnoses, Dunn said she herself was ignorant of the disease.

“It’s scary because she was so young. She was healthy and in shape, and yet she had this terrible illness. It is sad. I did not realize that it affected people so young,” Dunn added.

In four years the event has grown into an organization. Unlike the first festival where much of the advertising was by word of mouth, by 1999 Boarding For Breast Cancer ads were in Sports Illustrated, Shape, and Outside magazines just to name a few. Polo Sport came on board as the presenting sponsor.

“BBC is our focus event, but we’ve created some new programs,” said Brett Smith, director of marketing for Fuse Sports, a board member of BBC. “Our mission is raising funds and education. This year we have added Board-a-thons around the country at ski areas. People participate by getting pledges and coming to the event. We have also established an educational presence on the Vans Warp Tour (a summer concert tour). We’re also hoping to branch out and include other sporting events like surfing.”

Since the inaugural festival in 1996, BBC has raised more than $237,000 for the The Breast Cancer Fund, The Susan G. Komen Foundation, and the Nina Hyde Center For Breast Cancer Research at Georgetown University’s Medical Center.

“We are focussed on young people, and that includes men and women because breast cancer affects everyone,” Smith said.

Dunn, who just moved her winter base to South Lake Tahoe, said she would be on hand this weekend participating in Saturday’s festivities.

“The festival is just about fun. You get to see everyone, get together and hang out, and you get to support a worthy cause. Everything is a bonus,” she said.


Boarding For Breast Cancer, Saturday, April 17


9:30 a.m. Opening announcement

10-11 a.m. Amateur halfpipe session

11-noon Pro halfpipe session

11:30-12:15 p.m. Mike Watt, Peter Distefano, Stephen Perkins (all former members of Porno For Pyros)

12:30-1:15 p.m. Alkaholiks

1:30-2:15 p.m. Ozomatli

2:15-3 p.m. Pro rider autograph session

2:45-3:30 p.m. Less Than Jake

3-4 p.m. Pro Big Air session

4-4:45 p.m. Blink 182

4:45-5:15 p.m. Awards Ceremony

5:15-6 p.m. Spearhead

Tickets cost $40 for lift access/concert; and $25 for concert only. They can be purchased at all BASS ticket outlets, (800) 225-BASS, and Sierra-at-Tahoe, (tickets subject to convenience charge at the resort).

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