ALPLAUS, N.Y. –
A Rochester high school crew team is rowing the Erie Canal from Buffalo to Waterford to raise money for cancer research.
Eight members of the McQuaid Jesuit High School crew team are rowing the 340 miles in only eight days. The athletes started their journey at the University of Buffalo boat house June 14 and will end at the Waterford Visitor Center Friday on what they call their “Row for Hope”.
Team member ‘Wojo’ said that although the trip has included some long, hard days, the entire team knows they are doing it for a great cause.
“We actually got to meet some kids who are survivors and victims, and it’s been a really cool experience,” he said.
The McQuaid Jesuit rowers have set a goal of $25,000, and they have already raised $20,200. In addition to the money they already earned, parent and coordinator Linda Pizzo said people have been stopping the team along the canal to donate money.
“People stop on the river when we go by and they are asking ‘what are you doing,’ and we’ll pull over and tell them and they’ll give us money right on the spot writing checks,” she said. “So we still have a jug to send off to the American Cancer Society, so the number is gonna go up, but we really want to make the goal.”
Team member Stephen Gearinger said other crews have met up with the McQuaid Jesuit rowers over the past week to help the team on their journey.
“It’s been tons of fun rowing with different people. They can help push us when we get tired, and they motivate us, so I definitely think it’s gonna be fun today,” he said.
“It’s gonna be fun” because coaches and rowers from the Burnt Hills Rowing Association in Alplaus provided breakfast today for the McQuaid team and will be joining them for part of the last leg of their journey.
Today, the athletes only have the last 40 miles of their trip left. According to Burnt Hills coach, Mike Meiers, 340 miles is an arduous task.
He said, “Most of the kids when they go out for practice or a row, they’re rowing an hour and a half, two hours tops, but to go 340 miles over eight days, the effort level that they have put in and the dedication that they have to do that to actually finish is higher than what most kids would ever think they’d be doing.”
Gearinger said rowing to raise money for the American Cancer Society is great motivation to keep the team going.
“Row for Hope” is raising money through the Coaches vs. Cancer program. The program is a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches to increase cancer awareness and promote healthy living.
With the support of their family members and the community, the McQauid Jesuit rowers are already thinking about doing the trip again next year.
Wojo said, “It’s just a good cause. At McQuaid, we always say we have to be meant for others, so we really try to do that and represent our school well.”
Follow the link below to help the McQuaid Jesuit High School crew meet their goal: