Last year, when 20-year-old Kaiy Smith’s cousin died of cancer, Smith was saddened and shocked. Her cousin Debbie was only 41 years old and had two sons, ages 11 and 15.
Smith said the tragedy affected her more dramatically because she couldn’t imagine losing her own mom at such a young age.
Although her family had been affected by cancer in the past, she had never truly been exposed to the heartbreaking disease, she said, adding that she and other members of her family had long participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
But for some reason the enormity of the disease and its effect on individuals never really completely registered in her youthful mind.
Smith began talking with her grandmother, Julie Smith of Pasadena, a longtime American Cancer Society supporter, and Smith’s boss, Tim Shepard, owner of Billy’s Board Shop in Montrose.
She wanted to find a way to help other youths like herself who really didn’t understand how cancer could touch and sometimes destroy a family.
Soon an idea formed: Not only would Billy’s Board Shop form its own Relay for Life team, but Smith and her co-workers would also create an event to help educate and involve other young people in fighting cancer.
“A lot of the kids we work with would never become involved in Relay for Life, but this is a way they can learn about cancer and become involved in fighting it,” she said.
The idea — which began for skateboarders as Boarding for a Cure and soon morphed into Boarding and Batting for a Cure as the batting cages next door to the event also became involved — is scheduled from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. this Saturday, March 21, at South Pasadena Skate Park, 660 Stoney Drive, in South Pasadena.
The event is free and open to all youths; however, skateboarders are required to wear a helmet and protective gear and must have a signed parent waiver to participate.
The waiver can either be signed by a parent or guardian the day of the event at the park or obtained prior to the event at www.boardingforacure.net/BillysBoards4acure/Flyer_files/waiver.pdf.
At the event, professional skateboarders will be on hand to coach, instruct and inspire. Also scheduled to help out at the batting cages is former Dodger baseball pitcher Jim Gott, who will help coach pitching techniques.
Vendors also will be on hand to sell food and other items. Proceeds from food sales will go to the American Cancer Society, through Relay for Life, Smith said.
Raffles also are planned with a variety of items for prizes donated through area businesses, including skateboards and an autographed photo of professional skateboarder Tony Hawk.