Skate the Lake hits 13th year of fundraising in North Lake Tahoe
August 2, 2017
Skate the Lake returned to North Lake Tahoe on Saturday, July 29, for its 13th straight year, bringing skaters on a 28-mile trek along the shores of Lake Tahoe to wrap up two days of fundraising for Boarding for Breast Cancer's prevention and survivor programs.
For the third straight year, 14-year-old Katie Lyssand fundraised more cash than anyone else, again setting the race's gold standard for raising money in the fight against cancer.
Lyssand said she began participating in Skate the Lake four years ago, taking on the course in honor of her great, great grandfather on her father's side, and her great grandmother and great aunts on her mother's side.
Lyssand has been on a mission since then, and in four years has raised more than $15,000 for the organization.
Each year she goes to locals and businesses, finds a connection to someone who's been affected by cancer, and offers to skate for them.
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"Every year when I go fundraising, everyone tells me that one of their family members has passed away or they survived," Lyssand said. "I write their names down, and I come out here and race for them."
Much of the Skate the Lake fundraising can be viewed on its fundraising page on Classy.org, and up until race day, it appeared 15-year-old Cali Vail, who had raised over $2,000, would dethrone Lyssand. That was until, Lyssand dropped $2,500 in cash off on race day to push her total to $5,100. Lyssand said she raised $5,600 at last year's Skate the Lake.
"I thought that I would put some of the money on my website to make people think I was raising (funds) and then I'd drop $2,500 here," she said.
Lyssand said she'll "definitely" be back next year, and will next be at Boarding for Breast Cancer's next event, Skate the Coast, which is a 19-mile ride at Santa Monica's South Redondo Beach on Sept. 30.
"All I can really say is, I hope more people come out next year and enjoy Skate the Lake as much as I do," she said.
First-time participant Marsalo del Real of Reno said he heard about Skate the Lake after Race Organizer Curtis Sterner dropped off a flyer at his place of work, and couldn't resist coming out for the cause, footing the $50 entry fee, which is usually fundraised, himself.
"I love longboarding and skating," said del Real. "My mom had symptoms of breast cancer as well, so it's something I could invest in — something for a good cause."
Del Real said he'd never skated a distance of 28 miles before, and that while the route was taxing, it's something he'd do again.
"It was kind of rough at first — I fell," he said. "People were blocking the path and I was trying to stop, people came in front of me and my board slipped from under me and just boom! Kind of a rough start, kind of threw me off, but I was like, 'You know, I'm going to keep pushing, let's do it.'
"I feel good, ready for a nap and some food and to call it a day. I'm grateful for the experience, and thanks to Boarding for Breast Cancer. Much love for everybody who came out and supported and did their thing. It's not easy to do."
In total this year's Skate the Lake raised over $21,000 for Boarding for Breast Cancer, according to Sterner.
"It just shows how community based we are. We bring people from Sacramento, San Francisco, and Reno — I've had people come from an orphanage in Mexico," Sterner said.
This year's event also marked the first time Skate the Lake has held festivities at Tahoe City's Common's Beach.
"There's nothing like it up here," Sterner said. "We've been working really hard, and now Tahoe City has really embraced us."
For more information on Boarding for Breast Cancer's upcoming events visit B4BC.org.