Spring break for Tahoe man will be on a skateboard fundraiser | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Spring break for Tahoe man will be on a skateboard fundraiser

Adam Jensen / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Provided by Vernon Shaw

Like many of his fellow students, Mark Dalmacio’s spring break plans include heaping portions of travel, sunshine and spending time with friends.

But the 20-year-old South Lake Tahoe native and California State University, Northridge student won’t be sipping parasol-adorned concoctions in some exotic locale.

Instead, Dalmacio will shoulder what has the potential to be the most challenging road trip of his life, a journey from South Lake Tahoe to Northridge ” on a skateboard.

The screenwriting junior and member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity plans to begin the seven-day, 435-mile trek from South Tahoe High School on Saturday in an effort to raise $3,000 for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

“I’ve fallen in love with longboarding and I wanted to figure out a way to combine longboarding and philanthropy,” Dalmacio said.

The foundation’s goal is to cure Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis ” known collectively as inflammatory bowel diseases ” as well as improve the quality of life of those living with the diseases.

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The diseases are painful, chronic illnesses that affect 1.4 million Americans, according to the foundation.

Dalmacio said he wanted to raise money for the group after experiencing two friends’ struggles with Crohn’s, including 21-year-old California State University Northridge student Amala Kasturiraj.

Kasturiraj was diagnosed with Crohn’s about a year and a half ago.

“The main thing with Crohn’s is that it’s super chronic ” you’re sick all the time,” Kasturiraj said.

The film major missed a semester of school because of extended hospital stays around the time of her diagnosis.

Complications from Crohn’s can also severely limit sufferers’ ability to leave the house and lead to additional health issues like kidney infections and eye problems, Kasturiraj said.

Dalmacio’s announcement of his plans for the fundraising trip was a “huge surprise” and his journey has attracted a very positive response from students at the university, Kasturiraj said.

In addition to helping his friends, Dalmacio says he drew inspiration from Dave Cornwaither and Adam Colton, two longboarders who have both undertaken cross-country skateboard trips to raise money for charity in recent years.

“At first I was a little nervous when I told people,” Dalmacio said. “When I told people about this they were a little skeptical.”

But after he assured potential donors he wasn’t just skating for fun and that donations would be going to a good cause, the money started rolling in.

Dalmacio and his support team are still in need of donations like gas money and places to stay along their travel route, but fundraising for the foundation itself had garnered pledges totaling more than $2,275 as of Tuesday evening.

The South Tahoe graduate ” joined by a lead car and a trailing car driven by members of his fraternity ” plans to ride between 60 and 70 miles a day. He expects to leave from the high school at 8 a.m. and head over Luther Pass on day one.

Dalmacio will then spend the bulk of the trek on U.S. Highway 395 before finishing at Northridge’s Oviatt Library on April 10.

For more information about Dalmacio’s journey, or to make a donation, visit http://www.firstgiving.com/kickpushcure.

Dalmacio also expects to post live updates from the fundraising trip on both a Facebook and Twitter page. The Twitter page is http://www.twitter.com/kickpushcure.