Longboarders Skate to Support: Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
At about noon today, three teens on longboards will roll into downtown New London. That may not sound so unusual, given that there’s no shortage of skateboard enthusiasts in the city. But these three standout because they’ve come all the way from Old Orchard Beach, Maine, as part of an eight-day, 300-mile trip that won’t end until they hit Times Square in New York City.
And along the way, they’re raising money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
This isn’t the first time that Connor Reeves, 18, Jacob Weese, 18, and Ethan Johnson, 17, have embarked on such an endeavor. Last year they rode their longboards 150 miles around their home state of Maine and managed to raise $4,200 for the cause selling bracelets and bumper stickers. But this year’s trip is even more ambitious in terms of both distance and fundraising.
“We’d be really disappointed if we didn’t pass our goal of last year,” said Johnson.
The teens–who hail from Skowhegan, Maine–set out on June 26 and, as of last night, had made it as far as Plainfield, Conn.
“We’ve done around 200 miles so far,” said Johnson. “We’ve got 112 to go.”
Today will be the longest day of the journey. Their trip from Plainfield to New London is about 26 miles, which the teens are planning to do in about four-and-a-half hours. If they start at 7:30 a.m. as planned, that will put them in New London by noon.
“If it’s flat, we’ll usually go around 10 mph, which means Connor, our fearless leader, will go about 12 mph!” said Johnson.
From New London, they plan to catch the ferry to Orient Point, Long Island, and then they’ll ride their longboards 20 more miles to Mattituck. So far, Reeves said, the trip has been going pretty much according to plan, although it’s not always a comfortable experience.
“It’s been raining [some days] and [yesterday] it was 90 degrees, so that was pretty rough,” he said.
The teens, however, remain undaunted.
They decided to ride for this particular cause because Weese’s aunt has breast cancer. The reception they’re received so far has varied, Reeves said. People who know someone with breast cancer have been very supportive. Passing motorists not so much.
Seeing three skateboarders trucking down the road with pink backpacks bearing the slogan, “Boarding for Boobies,” (which is emblazoned on the bumper stickers and bracelets that they’re selling) may have something to do with that. Apparently, it’s not a slogan that instantly registers with people who aren’t well-acquainted with breast cancer. The bracelets, however, are selling well at $5 apiece.
“We started out with 300 bracelets and now we have 40 or 50 left,” said Johnson.
Although they’re not doing a traditional sponsored ride, the three teens are encouraging people to show their support by making donations to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. In the meantime, they’re just enjoying the ride.
“The toughest thing is the heat and then looking at a hill we’re going to have to walk up,” said Johnson. “The coolest thing is getting in at night and touring New England on a longboard!”
If you’d like to follow their progress and see how the trip ends, you can check them out on Facebook. If you head down to the ferry dock at about noon, you can wish them a bon voyage and perhaps pick up a bracelet or bumper sticker. It’s all for a good cause.