Launch set for Sunday: Jacob Beckley to row across Lake Michigan

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LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, sponsor of a resolution to declare September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in Michigan will join rower, Jacob Beckley at the St. Joseph Junior Foundation Sailing School as he begins his journey at 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Residents are invited to attend and see Beckley off on his 24-hour, 65 mile journey.

Last year Beckley embarked on a successful nine-day expedition to climb the second largest mountain in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range of California. He climbed a total of 36 miles, and raised almost $6,000 for pediatric cancer research.

This year, Beckley spent his time building a handmade boat that he will use to row across Lake Michigan this weekend.

“You have to keep everything in perspective,” said Beckley. “I can see an end in sight, which will make the row easier for me. I just wish kids who are afflicted with this disease and the parents of these kids had an end in sight, but that’s just not the case.”

Each day, approximately 150 kids around the world are diagnosed with pediatric cancer; the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15. Currently, less than 4 percent of the National Cancer Institute’s budget is solely dedicated to childhood cancer research.

“We have made great strides in the fight against pediatric cancer, yet cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease for American children,” said Proos. “Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is an effort to help increase awareness of childhood cancer, renew our commitment to curing it and support the brave young people fighting this devastating disease.”

To donate or to track Beckley’s progress as he crosses Lake Michigan, visit: www.row4acure.com

The launch will take place at 7 p.m. Sunday at the St. Joseph Junior Foundation Sailing School,7 Lighthouse Lane (just east of the St. Joseph River Yacht Club), in St. Joseph.

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Photo Caption: (Left to right) Tony Mandarino of St. Joseph and father of Alex Mandarino, founder of the Alex Mandarino Foundation in honor of his young son who passed away from neuroblastoma at age five; rower Jacob Beckley; Tom Zanoni, friend and collaborator for row4acure; Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph. They are standing in front of Beckley’s boat which will be used in his journey across Lake Michigan.