What better way to start than a massive expedition from coast to coast in the name of finding a cure?
Professional longboarder—longboarding is like skateboarding, but with more traction—19-year-old James McGary from Missoula, MT, is going the distance in support of the Cancer Research Institute (CRI). Starting in June, he will longboard from Seattle to New York City to raise money for CRI. CRI talked with James about his passion for longboarding and why this cause is so special to him.
Photo Credit: Zoie Koostra
How did you first hear about the Cancer Research Institute?
James: Step one of planning my trip was finding out who I would be donating to. I started to explore the top cancer research organizations. I knew I wanted to stay away from chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and that I wanted my money to go to a group that did not put its effort into one type of cancer only. In the end, I decided on the Cancer Research Institute.
What resonates with you about CRI’s mission?
James: I am drawn to the work that you do. Immunotherapy is, in my opinion, the best solution for a cure that I have heard yet.
What experience have you had with cancer?
James: At 16, I lost my mother to colorectal cancer, which resulted in me being an orphan at a young age.
How did you come up with the idea to longboard from Seattle to New York City?
James: My boss, Richard, suggested it to me. I am in a place in my life where I want to travel and live to the fullest. I decided to pack my bags and travel the world. I informed my boss of my plans and that I would no longer be able to work under him. At first he seemed upset, but the next day he suggested an idea: skateboard across America. At first, I considered it a joke, but after a few days I decided I could do it.
When my mother passed, she wanted her ashes to be spread across different oceans. What better way to start than a massive expedition from coast to coast in the name of finding a cure?
What about your journey excites you most?
James: I am most excited about the people I’ll meet on the way, and the story I will have in the end. I am overjoyed to combine my passion with helping others! And I am definitely happy about the killer beach body I’ll have by the end of my trip!
UPDATE: James completed his 3,242-mile journey from Seattle to New York City in September 2015.
Fundraise for cancer research