PADDLING FOR A CAUSE
A fireman cruised up the Carpinteria coast on Tuesday to help raise cancer awareness.
Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District Firefighter Brian Lombardi took a paddleboard from the tar pits at Carpinteria State Beach to Lookout Park in Summerland.
Mr. Lombardi said the perfect weather and ocean conditions made for a leisurely cruise up the coast.
“It was absolutely beautiful. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to get to swim through the district that I serve. I feel lucky to be able to participate,” Mr. Lombardi said as he came ashore in Summerland. He was greeted on the beach by his wife Lidia, their young son Bruno and the family dog Rooster.
The trip was part of a 250-mile ocean paddle relay put on by the John Wayne Cancer Foundation for sun safety and skin cancer awareness.
The relay features lifeguards and junior lifeguards paddling through their jurisdictional areas from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Lifeguards paddled 38 miles over two days from Oxnard to Carpinteria before Mr. Lombardi tagged into the relay.
The relay will run from Lookout Park to East Beach today, then to Refugio State Beach. Santa Barbara City lifeguards will pick up the relay at East Beach.
“It was a good opportunity for some community outreach. The State Park lifeguard program called us since there’s no lifeguards between here and East Beach. This is our district and we’re all on the water rescue team. So we try to support each other. It’s for cancer so we’re trying to do our part for the community,” said Mr. Lombardi.
He noted that the paddleboard provided for the relay by the John Wayne Cancer Foundation has stickers from all the lifeguards and law enforcement agencies that have participated in the relay over the years.
“They’ve been doing this for the past five years and I think it’s pretty cool to recognize the agencies and the people that partook in it.”
Actor John Wayne beat lung cancer in 1964 but died of stomach cancer 15 years later. His family created the John Wayne Cancer Foundation in his memory. The foundation established the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica.
The institute’s research has led to groundbreaking cancer procedures and treatments, according to a foundation news release.