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The Great Castell Kayak Race Does It Again - 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010 • Posted May 15, 2010

Up the creek without a paddle!

The Great Castell Kayak Race, affectionately known as "GiCKeR," is preparing to launch its next fundraiser. The kayaks will put in from the Llano River RV park the morning of June 5 at the Hwy 87 bridge in Mason county. Registration is from 6:30 - 8:15 a.m., the fee is $45. The race is run each year in memory of Judith Curtis.

The event garners funds for Chemo Sabe, a nonprofit outreach. Telling me how the name came about, Jerialice said she was thinking in terms of camaraderie as in Tonto’s address of the Lone Ranger. None of us are in this alone - or we shouldn’t have to be. I told her I liked it because the verb saber is Spanish meaning "to know;" and knowledge is power. Arsenault, having lost loved ones to cancer, founded the race which has become a Hill Country tradition.

Advocating community support, Arsenault’s mission is to bring healing through music, while helping folks find the resources needed to support survival while they undergo treatment. Getting into the spirit of community, the following sponsors have come on board again this year: KFAN, KBAY, KRVL, Llano County Journal, Hill Country Visitors Guide as media partners reaching the entire Texas Hill Country.

While most people afflicted with cancer have family support, there are those unfortunate individuals who fall through the cracks when it comes to treatment and complications like having to remodel a house in the event of a degree of incapacitation. Until a person has intimate knowledge of the effects and side effects, some things are difficult to comprehend. Everyone has felt hopeless, abandoned, in need. For families experiencing the devastation of cancer, that "up the creek" feeling persists for months, even years at a time. Until a person has intimate knowledge of the effects and side effects, some things are difficult to comprehend.

When Arsenault and her sisters, Judith Curtis and Janice Ramalho, started in the early 2000s, they wanted to raise money to help people going through the battle with cancer. Cancer doesn’t just affect an individual, it alters the life of that person’s friends and family. In appreciation for what Chemo Sabe does for them, and to show they’ve got some fight left, valiant survivors often participate in the race.

Relates Arsenault, "The first five years, the beneficiary rotated. Then, in 2007, my sister and both of my other board members passed away: one of the board members as well as Judith died of cancer. We did not hold the races that year."

In 2008 the races resumed and there is now a 501-c3 foundation called Chemo Sabe. In 2009, GCKR welcomed Scott&White and Llano Memorial Health Care System as underwriters. Both of these regional facilities offer cancer related services and treatment on a daily basis; getting into the thick of things is a demonstration of their commitment. On the legal end of business, Ms. Arsenault is delighted to have the input and expertise of Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts, a non-profit help organization.

While it is GCKR’s intent to raise awareness of the needs of those in rural areas and to "bring together the elements of healing," Arsenault holds to her premise of putting the fun in fundraising. The races are about life and liveliness. To that end, there will be live music all day at RiverSounds at the finish line in Castell. Appearing in the line up is Manny Duarte, Jenny Taylor, Hillhouse, RC and the Pirates and many more. Special guest, Jackie Doss, is a melanoma survivor, a cancer which proved to be deadly when it took Judith Curtis.

Race particulars: The day of June 5 begins with registration from 6:30-8:30 a.m. for those who have not pre-registered. Interested parties may register online at Registration will include a safety talk and paddle demonstration by the Expedition School of Austin, Texas. The $45 entry fee includes T-shirt, bandanna, live music, free camping at RiverSounds and snacks.

The Llano River RV Park hosts the put in. It is located on Hwy 87 in Mason County. The course is 11 miles long and many serious boaters use this as a prelude to entry in the Texas Safari held later in June.

"Up the creek WITH a Paddle" is this years creed; be part of a great and fun event . Participate or cheer somebody on and at the end of the ride- enjoy the music and your sense of accomplishment.

Participation in the race just might "float your boat." 512-217-4596 for more info.

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