Rowing afar for prostate cancer
Row, row, row your boat, gently across the Indian Ocean.
Well, maybe not gently, but that’s exactly what a group of four Aucklanders plan to do in the name of prostate cancer.
hildhood friends Billy Gammon, Tom Wigram and Matt Hampel and radio promotion winner Peter Staples make up Rowing for Prostate which will next month set off on the 5700km Indian Ocean Rowing Race from Western Australia to Mauritius.
English-born Mr Gammon, 35, says the idea to enter the race came about after his father was diagnosed with prostate cancer in late 2007.
“It opened up our eyes to how little is known about prostate cancer and men’s health.
“It inspired us to put together a challenge and make a difference.”
Thankfully Mr Gammon’s father beat the disease.
The team are preparing for the race by spending plenty of time in the gym and taking part in team trial sessions.
But there are some things the guys won’t be able to avoid, including weight loss, with dried food set to be their main source of energy.
“I will probably come back the size of a jockey. I could lose 15 to 20 kilos,” says Mr Gammon.
It’s expected the race will take between 60 and 70 days in the boat that is almost nine metres in length.
The quartet have been fitting out the boat with special equipment, like state-of-theart seats, at their base at Westhaven Marina.
As for the competitive element of the race, Mr Gammon isn’t sure how the foursome will go. “Winning for us will be completing it.”
All funds raised will be donated to the Cancer Society.
The society’s Auckland division chief executive John Loof says what the group are undertaking is “extraordinary”.
“You’ve just got to take your hat off to people who are achieving something and help their community. You can’t ask for more than that.”
Along with the funds raised, Mr Loof hopes the campaign will raise awareness about prostate cancer in general.
“There are probably many guys who don’t know what a prostate is, let alone what can go wrong.”
To support the team with a donation visit http://www. fundra i se onl i ne. c o . nz / rowingforprostate09 or visit www.rowingforpros tate.com to follow their progress.
Ocean adventure: Rowing For Prostate team members, from left: Billy Gammon, Peter Staples, Tom Wigram and Matt Hampel are set to take part in the first ever Indian Ocean Rowing Race next month, to raise funds for the fight against prostate cancer.