South Tahoe paddleboard event supports fight against cancer |

South Tahoe paddleboard event supports fight against cancer

Jack Barnwell
Paddleboarders gather in a circle for support during the 2014 Paddle Against Cancer event. It honors people who have struggled with cancer, and it acts as a fundraiser for South Lake Tahoe Cancer League.
Brian Walker |


What: Paddle Against Cancer

Where: El Dorado Beach, 1004 Lakeview Ave., South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

When: Saturday, Sept. 12, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cost: $50, includes lunch. All proceeds go to South Lake Tahoe Cancer League.

When South Lake Tahoe residents Julie Zeid and Julianne Brackett-O’Neill paddled to Emerald Bay in October 2012, they did it for a reason — to honor two people struggling with cancer. Zeid paddled for her daughter Alisha Zeid and Brackett for Dr. Bob Bender.

The personal journey sparked the inaugural Paddle Against Cancer event in 2014, which hosted 50 participants and raised $3,000 for the South Lake Tahoe Cancer League.

“Everybody knows someone who has been affected by cancer, whether a friend, a family member or yourself,” said Zeid, event founder and South Tahoe Standup Paddle’s tour director. “It gives people hope and a place for support. It could be a hug or a shoulder to cry on.”

Now in its second year, the Paddle Against Cancer fundraising event will launch at El Dorado Beach (1004 Lakeview Ave.) in South Lake Tahoe on Saturday, Sept. 12, according to Zeid. South Tahoe Standup Paddle will sponsor the event and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe will cater it. Participants will wear signs showcasing names of people being honored at the paddle.

The event starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. South Tahoe SUP will offer board and paddle rentals for $15. Onsite event registration costs $50 and includes lunch. Raffles will also be held.


Support for South Lake Tahoe Cancer League is meaningful to both Zeid and Robin Bender, South Tahoe Standup Paddle’s chief financial officer.

According to Zeid, her daughter completed cancer treatment twice, and she overcame her illness.

Bender’s husband, Dr. Bob Bender, died in March 2013, five months after Zeid and Brackett’s paddleboard journey to Emerald Bay.

“My mother and my husband passed away within 20 months of each other, and I took care of each of them when they had cancer,” Bender said. “My family has been rocked to the core because we lost five family members to this yucky disease.”

Bender said the South Lake Tahoe Cancer League helped her through the difficult time.

Proceeds for the 2015 Paddle Against Cancer will go entirely to the cancer league to help continue its mission of support.

“It’s time for us to give back to the league,” Bender said.

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