Row­ing afar for prostate can­cer

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

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.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

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.

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