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Row 4 Cancer Is Launched!

22 March 2005

In November 2005, Richard Mayon-White and Liz O’Keeffe from Southampton will set off from the Canary Islands on their quest to become only the fifth couple to complete The Atlantic Rowing Race, a 2900 nautical mile rowing race across the Atlantic (from East to West).

Richard and Liz’s journey will take anything from 40 days to 100 days.  The race finishes in Antigua in the Caribbean.  Christmas in Antigua sounds very appealing but extreme weather conditions, 50ft waves and even sharks are just some of the obstacles that they may face during race.

Both Richard and Liz are long-time supporters of the charity and have supported both Sail 4 Cancer and Bike 4 Cancer many times in recent years.  Given that this is a rowing challenge however, we have decided to set up ‘Row 4 Cancer‘ as a registered charity in its own right!

Row 4 Cancer

Richard and Liz aim to raise more than £10,000 for Sail 4 Cancer as part of their challenge.  In addition to raising funds they also want to raise awareness of the charity’s work. At the end of the voyage, the boat and all equipment will be sold and the proceeds divided projects in Antigua and the UK.

Row 4 Cancer

Commenting on the challenge Richard said:

“We have seen at first hand the amazing impact that Sail 4 Cancer has when helping families living with cancer.  In setting up Row 4 Cancer, we hope other people will be inspired to get involved and initiate their own challenge for this fantastic charity.

In today’s society so many things are attainable with very little effort, from purchasing a car on the Internet, to booking an all inclusive safari package in Kenya. Virtually everything and anything can be bought, parcelled and packaged (at a cost) to fulfill our every desire, without any ‘real’ effort.

In our increasingly more accessible world, we forget how once we struggled to overcome even the simple barriers that our planet presents us with. Once, people barely left their own villages, crossing a sea was a treacherous journey from which many people never returned and the idea of flying across an Ocean and back in one day was simply ludicrous. Modern life with all its comforts only offers rare opportunities to experience the extremes of nature.

We do not enter into this challenge lightly. We appreciate that this will put us, as individuals and as a team under extremes pressures, both mentally and physically. But the drive to do something different and feel a real sense of achievement will prevail!”

Richard Groome from Sail 4 Cancer added:

“Rowing across the Atlantic Ocean is a monumental challenge but no less daunting than being told that you have cancer.  Cancer is the biggest fight most people will experience in their lifetimes.  What Richard and Liz are doing is inspirational and we cannot thank them enough for supporting us in this way.”

Update

Richard and Liz left La Gomera in the Canary Islands on 30 November along with 24 other boats as part of the Atlantic Race 2005.  When the couple finally arrived in Antigua in the small hours of 6 February, there was an incredible sense of relief as well as elation.  The race had been dogged by the most extreme weather and sea conditions imaginable for the time of year. At least 6 of the 25 boats that started the race have been forced to retire after capsizes lead to injuries and dramatic rescues.  Richard and Liz themselves capsized four times, resulting in Liz damaging her leg, a lost rowing seat and terminal damage to their laptop – a vital communications tool.

Whilst the laptop was operational, the couple kept a fascinating online diary, detailing the highs and lows of their experiences. Breakages, such as two oars and the rudder, record breaking bad weather which saw them rowing in their survival gear to keep warm  and days spent drifting at sea anchor due to terrible sea conditions tested the couple severely.  The exhilaration of surfing huge waves (once with an enormous whale alongside), amusing observations of the sea life around them and a genuine enjoyment of their adventure shine throughout the diary.

We cannot thank Richard and Liz enough for all their help and support.  Thank you!

Row 4 Cancer Is Launched!
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