Fight Melanoma Cancer – Work Out: Meters for Melanoma 2018 is Here!

Last updated March 31, 2018


Help us beat melanoma, one of the deadliest cancers! Join us on May 5 for Meters for Melanoma, supporting the Midwest Melanoma Partnership. Join us!

 

 

Fight melanoma cancer and get your row on at the same time!  METERS FOR MELANOMA, our annual fundraiser to support research and education by the Midwest Melanoma Partnership is back for a second year, bigger and better than ever.

 

We’ve added prizes – ERGS! – for top fundraisers and, thanks to a $20,000 challenge grant, your donations are worth even more this year.

 

row a little – row a lot

 

REGISTER NOW to either row as an individual, or get your small team (25 or fewer) or large team (26+) together and plan to raise funds and row meters together.  We’ve made the meter distances accessible for pretty much anyone.

 

You can row as few as 500 meters, or 5000 meters, or beyond.  Not into rowing?  Just want to support the cause?  No problem.  You can even donate to register as a Virtual Rower and your entry will count towards the prizes.

 

WIN A ROWING MACHINE, SKIERG or BIKEERG!

 

This year we’re sweetening the pot and giving one individual and one team their choice of a Concept2 rowing machine, SkiErg or BikeErg.  There are minimum fundraising levels to qualify for the erg giveaway, and the number of meters you get matters too.  Check the registration page for details.

 

Sign up before April 3, 2018 and you will have the opportunity to order an event shirt for delivery in time for race day.  People who register later can still order shirts, but they will arrive after May 5.

raise money to fund melanoma cancer research

 

Melanoma cancer is one of the deadliest forms of the disease.  One person dies from it EVERY HOUR.  Think about that: In the time it takes you to finish your workout at the gym, one person has died from melanoma cancer.  On-water rowers and outdoor athletes in general are at great risk for cutaneous melanoma due to their exposure to the sun.

 

 

Prevention is critical.  And much easier than treating this deadly disease, as we at UCanRow2 know all too well.  That makes Meters for Melanoma a labor of love for us.

 

 A very personal labor as you’ll see below if you watch the video from our own Terry Smythe, who was diagnosed with rare mucosal melanoma late in 2013.  [Did you know that melanoma actually has three forms – cutaneous, mucosal and ocular?]

 

 

Meters for Melanoma 2017 from UCanRow2 on Vimeo.

The Basics

WHEN: May 5th-6th, 2018

WHERE: Anywhere you can find a rowing machine, SkiErg or BikeErg!

WHY: To raise funds for melanoma research and awareness. Our goal is to raise at least $20,000 for these activities, which will then be matched by an anonymous donor.

HOW: Grab your team, or sign up as an individual at this link.

NOTE: While it is Terry’s hope that everyone will be active in some way during this weekend, you DO NOT need to row to participate.  Virtual rowers are welcome, too!

 

Questions? Post them in the comments.  Come row with us and help us fight melanoma!

Row for a Cause at Meters for Melanoma

Last updated April 5, 2018

Help us beat melanoma, one of the deadliest cancers! Join us every May 5 for Meters for Melanoma, supporting the Midwest Melanoma Partnership. Join us!

 

Melanoma is one of the deadliest cancers there is.  Someone dies every hour from the disease. Sun-baked on-water rowers are especially at risk for the cutaneous form of melanoma.  METERS FOR MELANOMA was created to support the Midwest Melanoma Partnership‘s work to support research to find a cure.

 

Often melanoma gets mistaken as being solely “skin cancer” that can largely be prevented by minimizing your exposure to the sun’s UV rays.  While melanoma certainly CAN and often does occur on the skin, it turns out that there are two other forms of the disease, mucosal and ocular.  You don’t have to have any sun exposure at all to come face to face with one of the disease’s most aggressive forms: mucosal melanoma.

 

We’ve learned that in spades at UCanRow2 as our own Terry Smythe has been very publicly riding the cancer rollercoaster since late 2013.  Never, EVER one to take things easily or lying down, Terry is taking cancer on with guns blazing, and using her fight as a platform to educate others about the disease.

 

Rowing to Find a Cure for Melanoma

 

Enter METERS FOR MELANOMA, our annual fundraiser to support melanoma research and the tremendous efforts of the Midwest Melanoma Partnership.  Join us each year on May 5 — Terry’s birthday — and row or SkiErg 500 or 5000 meters, you pick.  If you don’t have access to an erg or would prefer to do another fitness activity, feel free!  Do you need a place to row or ski?  Check the links below to find a rower or SkiErg near you.

FIND AN INDOOR ROWER

FIND A SKIERG

 

SIGN UP for meters for melanoma

 

Please join us for some fun on May 5 and make a difference for Terry and everyone else fighting melanoma.  You’ll get a cool t-shirt, and our eternal thanks for helping with a really important cause.  Email us your 500 or 5000 meter time and you might win a cool prize!  Register now and we’ll get you set up.

 

REGISTER NOW

 

 

METERS FOR MELANOMA MEDIA COVERAGE

We’ve been so fortunate to count on the support of our local news media in this effort.  Click below to see the story that TV6 Upper Michigan’s Source did on our effort in its first year.

 

 

Do you have a melanoma or cancer story to tell? Has rowing made a difference in your recovery? Please tell us about it in the comments below, you deserve a shout-out!!

Living With Cancer: What a Concept … 2

(This article, first posted on April 8, 2015 and updated Jan. 19, 2016, is the first in a series of occasional blog posts by UCanRow2’s Terry Smythe.  Terry was diagnosed with mucosal melanoma in November, 2013.  Exercise, especially on the Concept2 SkiErg and indoor rower, have been fundamental to her path of recovering from cancer.)

Recovering From Cancer: Fighting My Way Back to Me

A stuffed animal cheers Terry on atop her IV pump in the hospital

 

Just over a year has passed since I had major surgery for rectal mucosal melanoma.  I was diagnosed with this very rare and aggressive cancer on Nov. 5, 2013, with surgery on Jan. 9, 2014 and immunotherapy at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute beginning in August, 2014.

It’s been a roller coaster couple of years, with a background theme of questions: Frequent thoughts of WHY, HOW DARE IT, WHY ME???  I have spent my life, like all active and athletic people, doing the best I can to take care of myself so that my body can perform.  I was a US national team rower, for heaven’s sakes!  Then come the thoughts of WHY NOT?  Cancer does not discriminate.  Why am I better than anyone else?  Why should I deserve a pass with a cancer diagnosis?  Am I that special?  I am human and therefore subject to the same as anyone else, but I don’t like it.  There is anger hidden behind the game face that I am so accustomed to putting on.

The difference today as I look back on this year is the realization that came to me during a recent conversation with my business partner. She said, “You’re mad, you’re pissed off because cancer picked you when this is not how you have lived your life. You have worked your whole life to not have this happen and you went and got it anyway.”  Well put.

(Good thing this a blog because not only am I a multi-tasking, 5-things-going-at-once kind of gal, but cancer treatment has added to my challenges with focus, especially when I have a lot to say. Pardon my randomness and I will work to get better as I blog.)

The surgery

To get to recovering from cancer let me begin at the beginning:

My cancer required a full APR (abdominoperineal resection) since my cancer extended from my vaginal wall through the anal-rectal canal and into my butt!! YES! Doesn’t that SUCK? I was essentially fileted from my belly button to past my butt and I woke up with a permanent colostomy! “WHO AM I NOW?” screamed in my head.

Jan. 9, 2014 I lay in pre-op at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA with my sister and my best friend since age 11 at my side.  My original surgery date was Jan. 7, but pipes burst in the hospital compromising all operating rooms.  You have no idea the prep I had to do for the 7th, then be there at 5:30 AM for surgery at 7:30 AM, only to watch the clock tick past my time and sense the urgency of “something is WRONG.”  Then a nice lady walks up and offers: “There’s no easy way to say this but we will discount your parking. All surgeries are being rescheduled.”  OMG!  Breathe and let that this-cannot-be-happening-to-ME feeling pass.  Being the amazing person she is, my surgeon, Dr. Sarah Russell, called shortly after and assured me this would be OK and not to worry.  Ha!  But I trusted her and she took good care of me.

Terry's Amazing and Strong socks, the good luck charm on her path to recovering from cancer

My sister gave me socks to wear into this cancer war that said, “I am Amazing” and “I am Strong.”  The surgical staff appreciated our attitude and promised to remember who was on the table. I remember feeling scared, but confident that Dr. Russell would get it all.  I also remember completely focusing in my head that at that moment I was lying there fully capable of doing a 100-mile bike, any kind of row, Crossfitting, skiing etc. … and that in a matter of hours my life would NEVER be the same. I had to be brave, I had to dig deep into all I had ever overcome in life to crawl back to me. Not only did my family and friends EXPECT this of me, I DID.

I thought to myself, “I have my army of support and my awesome medical team and I will prevail.  I will not let that expectation down.”  Honestly, I wanted to curl up in the fetal position and just cry; I wanted to be Dorothy in Oz and wake up from a bad dream with Hazel Bear (the UCanRow2 dog) licking my face as if to say that life was just fine and the same as always.  I did not.

Let the Healing Begin

My surgeon assured me she had gotten it all and that now was all about healing.  Easy to say and HARD to do. Healing is a big word and the definition is cancer’s roller coaster of emotions, phases, treatments, doctors, family, friends, everything that gives you joy, a lot of what you hate, and it changes daily.

How my life has changed since Jan. 9, 2014. From daily visits to the gym I have gone to working out whenever I feel up to it and sometimes-daily visits to the hospital. Still, I am lucky: 5 -10 years ago the odds were not good for survival past a year but there was hope. Today there is more hope and I do cling to the thought that with each passing day more is discovered about how to give me more options to live a strong life.

We row on.

The Workout

Terry Smythe looking Terry Strong after her first post-surgery workout

My first workout back at my Bodyshop gym was a far cry from what I’m used to, but a good fit for where I was: Rebuilding my strength after major surgery.  I lasted just 15 minutes on the SkiErg, at a pace slower than 3 minutes/500 meters, close to a minute off what I’m used to.  Afterwards I needed a three-hour nap.  So be it.  I did it, and that’s what matters.  Cancer, and recovering from cancer, changes everything when it comes to fitness, too.  Even for an athlete like me.  Especially for an athlete like me.  I have progressed from where I was that first day but I am still learning to be ok with the ups and downs of the good days and bad days.  When I feel good I push myself as hard as I can.  On my less-good days I am working on being understanding and forgiving.  It’s a process.

Power TuneRachel Platten – Fight Song

 If you would like to read more about Terry’s journey please visit her CaringBridge page.  If you have questions or comments for her, leave them in the comments here.  We would love to know what you think!