Skate marathon comes from the heart |

Skate marathon comes from the heart

Courtesy of Jay Kelly/Sierra Sun file photoRiders skate down the West Shore bike path just after dawn at last year's Skate the Lake. This year's fundraising event for cancer awareness will be held Saturday. The route starts at Sugar Pine Point and takes riders to Squaw Valley, finishing in Tahoe City.

The story behind the third annual Skate the Lake event Saturday ” when skateboarders will skate 27 miles to raise funds and increase awareness about breast cancer ” is a personal one.

Skate the Lake founders Curt Sterner and Chuck “Buckley” Vogt are both proud sons of mothers who fought and overcame breast cancer.

Coordinating Skate the Lake is an avenue for both sons to show their appreciation, love and honor for the women in their lives who have conquered the disease.

“If Mom can do all this stuff and make it through, and make it like she didn’t even have this disease … then my personal hardships, you know, they’re nothing,” said Vogt, who owns Lake Tahoe Long Boards. “I need to go out and skate. This thing ” it’s the least I can do.”

In its third year, Skate the Lake has expanded from the North Shore of Lake Tahoe to the streets of Los Angeles.

After this year’s marathon-length ride from Sugar Pine Point to Squaw Valley and back to Tahoe City, a total 27 miles, Skate the Lake will host another skateboarding endurance event from Santa Monica to Redondo Beach, a 19-mile route on the Southern California coastal boardwalk.

“[Skating the route] is definitely one of the hardest things,” said Skate the Lake rider Alison Hardy. “I think about all the people out there that have any kind of cancer and that kept me going. You just keep pushing.”

The event benefits Boarding for Breast Cancer, a youth-oriented nonprofit that heightens awareness about the disease. In 2006, Skate the Lake donated $7,000 to the agency, and this year Sterner said they hope to double the total, with a goal of raising $14,000.

Boarding for Breast Cancer uses the donation to sponsor educational outreach throughout the year. The nonprofit hosts an educational booth at close to 100 youth-oriented events a year, including the Vans Warped Tour, said Outreach Director Blair Young.

“[Skate the Lake] is not really a spectator event,” Young said. “It’s literally just the athletes getting together … everyone knows why they’re there and skates together.”

Expanding the relay to Los Angeles is a step toward Sterner and Vogt’s goal to host Skate the Lake relays nationwide. Sterner said he envisions four stops in various locations during next year’s breast cancer awareness month in October.

“It’s just all about the cause,” Sterner said. “It’s like a tear-jerker, you know. I never expected (that).”

Sterner said coordinating the event is like saying “I love you” to his mother a thousand times over.

“There were times when I was worried that she wasn’t going to pull [through],” Sterner said. “It’s kind of like being present for them because we weren’t at the time.”

Sterner said he couldn’t be with his mom during her radiation therapies and lumpectomy surgeries because of his road travels with a record label. Vogt heard the news about his mother’s cancer second-hand through his sister.

“Basically, I did [skate the lake] as a healing thing through my mother … because I was just completely devastated,” Vogt said. “My initial intention was, ‘What can I do?'”

Beyond honoring his mother and breast cancer survivors, Vogt finds his gratitude for Skate the Lake in the smiles and satisfaction from the people who participate. Participants range from 12-year-olds to some in their fifties, both guys and girls.

“It’s a different type of skateboarding that everybody can do,” Vogt said. “[Skaters] were doing something good to raise awareness and I instantly could see why this is such a good event.”

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