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Castaways Against Cancer raise funds, honor those who fought the fight

Miami Proud: Castaways Against Cancer has raised millions to fight the killer disease
Miami Proud: Castaways Against Cancer has raised millions to fight the killer disease 02:46

MIAMI - What began with a group of four self-described sea hippies on the water in 2000, has grown into a powerful movement with dozens of volunteers that has raised more than $2.3 million in the fight against cancer.

The Castaways Against Cancer is focused on funding cancer research and honoring those who have fought the fight. Every summer, from Miami to Key West kayakers paddle 160 miles over seven days, runners relay 170 miles over two days and cyclists pedal the same 170 miles in one grueling day.

Eric Pino serves as the Castaways Against Cancer event captain and describes the intensity of the journey.

"A physical demand on the body absolutely, but I think the challenge is mental, just being out there but it's also what makes it beautiful right? You're in the water, you're on your own, the sea life out there, the people you're paddling for, you have time to spend with them during these seven days in Key West," said Pino.

The Castaways Against Cancer founder, Steve O'Brien got in his first kayak after losing his mother to cancer. He says he's optimistic that in his lifetime there will be a cure.

"I really, really think we are close to turning the corner. We don't even know how close we are to turning the corner, I'm very hopeful.," said O'Brien.

The money raised from the event will go to the Sylvester Cancer Center.

"Based on the funding from the Castaways with cancer, we are able to use that money to investigate a new treatment and we are making lots of breakthroughs there. We published a paper in the Journal Science this year based on that funding and we also applied it to another grant, a bigger grant from the government that the funding from the Castaways helped us to achieve," said Dr. Justin Taylor with the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Castaways Against Cancer members say when one battles cancer, the road is challenging and treacherous but they believe in every battle there are moments of durability, strength, and beauty like in every Miami to Key West journey via kayak, bicycle, and running. 

The Castaways invite you to support the "Here Comes the Sun Tour," and help provide a "Silver Lining of Hope." This is their 25th anniversary and silver is a metal that represents durability, strength, and beauty.

For more information on how you can take part visit Castaways Against Cancer

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