Valley Springs men to skate Lake Tahoe for breast cancer event
Three Valley Springs men are taking to their boards to raise money in the fight to prevent breast cancer.
Arnie DePietro, 54, 44-year-old Randy Scheidt and 39-year-old Scott Mitchell will skate a course around part of Lake Tahoe during the eighth annual Skate the Lake, scheduled for Aug. 17 through 18. The event is a fundraiser for Boarding for Breast Cancer, a nonprofit committed to preventing breast cancer, largely through educational efforts. Participants will ride longboards, a type of skateboard that is longer than a traditional skateboard, on a 32-mile course along Lake Tahoe.
“Boarding for breast cancer is a big thing,” said Scheidt, a Santa Cruz native who has been surfing, skateboarding and longboarding since he was a kid. “To be able to go up and do an event to raise awareness of (breast cancer) – it just made me think about how it affects people in our community, and my wife and daughters.”
Scheidt has participated in one Skate the Lake event and Mitchell has boarded in the past two. The two train together a few times a week at New Hogan Reservoir, and DePietro recently jumped on board to ride with them.
He and his wife, Michelle DePietro, have felt the toll breast cancer takes on families first hand. Her great-grandmother and grandmother both died of the disease, her mother, Patty Baumdicker, is a survivor and her aunt was recently diagnosed.
“People who aren’t going through this – it affects every family,” DePietro said. “It’s going to affect you; you’re going to know someone who has it. It’s so important to fight these things.”
“There’s not a whole lot I can do as one person but … if we can fight this as a community, it just helps.”
She won’t be skating but will travel to Tahoe with her husband, who stays in shape but has not longboarded in years, to cheer the Valley Springs crew on.
“I’m definitely going to be there for him – five stops and I’ll be there.”
Curt Sterner and Chuck Buckley started Skate the Lake eight years ago after both their mothers were diagnosed with breast cancer.
“We decided to start longboard marathons to create breast-cancer prevention, rather than awareness, because we’ve been aware of breast cancer for 25 years. We’re actually creating a different outlook,” Sterner said.
He said they chose to donate the money to Boarding for Breast Cancer (B4BC) because its mission was to focus on prevention rather than awareness. Sterner explained much of the nonprofit’s money goes to an educational booth that travels the nation, teaching people to give their own breast exam and promoting an “active, healthy lifestyle – body and mind.”
Sterner emphasized that there is no such thing as being “too young” for breast cancer, and people of all ages need to learn to detect the disease.
“I really appreciated the fact that there are a lot of youth and youth-oriented people they (B4BC) touch the lives of,” said Sterner.
He said the event attracts people of all ages, and that it’s not limited to longboarders – bicyclists, roller skaters and the occasional runner also join in.
“We’ve had (kids) from an orphanage in Mexico,” he said, adding they created Skate the Coast six years ago for more people in Southern California to participate.
He said last year’s Skate the Lake garnered a record $15,000 for the nonprofit. Along with Skate the Coast, a B4BC fundraiser where participants board along an 18-mile course of the Los Angeles County coastline, in eight years participants have raised almost $75,000.
“(We) don’t have a million dollars to throw out for breast cancer awareness, but if we can ride our longboards for 32 miles to raise awareness, that’s what we’ll do,” said Scheidt.
The men’s fundraising goal is $2,500, and they have received donations from Umpqua Bank and Power Up! Fitness Studio in Valley Springs, which Scheidt’s wife, Jennifer, owns. Daddies Board Shop out of Portland, Ore., is providing longboard decks and riding gear for the Valley Springs men. Mitchell, Scheidt and DePietro are also inviting anyone from the area to come and Skate the Lake with them.
In addition to raising money to prevent breast cancer, Mitchell and Scheidt agreed the fundraiser shows longboarding as a healthy, positive activity.
“It’s just a great group of people, a great event, a great lifestyle,” said Scheidt.
For more information on Skate the Lake, visit Facebook.com and search “Skate the Lake.” To sponsor or join the Valley Springs trio on the trip to Lake Tahoe, contact Scheidt at email@example.com.
Contact Kate Gonzales at firstname.lastname@example.org