Whit Collier

This summer, instead of participating in the Hood River, Oregon endurance kiteboarding race (a cancer survivor fundraiser, which I was a part of the last two years) I decided to fundraise for Cure Alzheimer’s Fund (curealz.org), an organization at the forefront of research to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. With this effort, I honor my father, Charlie Collier, 69, who was diagnosed with early-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s several years ago.

Please consider giving to this cause and organization. They are an amazing group of leaders, from the highest caliber scientists in the world, to a wonderful staff who excels at running the non-profit, from its daily operations to event programming. Having supported them for years, I’ve been impressed on many levels, and the progress and outcomes are exciting to watch. 100% of the donations go directly to fund research, with the founders and board paying overhead expenses.

My journey will take me to the outer reaches of the Oregon coast to Floras Lake, where I’ll challenge myself to cover 100 miles on the water over a three day stretch. This is a small lake by the ocean in a remote part of the country where weather can be unpredictable and variable – an appropriate metaphor for the transitions my father faces on his journey, include a recent move into a memory care unit. I extend tremendous gratitude to him for all the guidance and love he shared during his better years, from introducing me to sports (squash, tennis, skiing, hiking, biking) to endless dialogue and advice.

Being a Pisces, perhaps one of my callings is love of water. I won a surfboard at a carnival raffle once, and my father immediately sold it, since we didn’t live near the ocean. Years later in the 1980s, he became proficient at windsurfing, first on Dublin Lake in New Hampshire, and later on the open ocean. I learned from him and at a summer camp, gravitating to the peaceful combination of being in balance with air, water and self. When I made a shift in 2009 from windsurfing to kiteboarding, he helped launch my “trainer” kite in a sports field, even helping disentangle it from a tree. Little did I know at the time, these were a few of the precious shared moments left while in good health.

I plan to donate $2 for every mile. I set a “stretch goal” of 100 miles as my speed will be slowed by the frequent turning required in a small lake. This quest is a symbol of love and gratitude, and a way to inspire others. Thank you so much to those who supported me before, and thank you in advance for supporting me in July,