A healthy active lifestyle and a conscious community.

Justin Abdelkader pushes his SUP back to the beach after paddling out. Photo/Marc Hoeksema

That’s what Stand Up for the Cure’s Executive Director Dan Van Dyck is looking to install when he helps bring the annual fundraising event to Muskegon each year.

The stand up paddle board event made its impact on Saturday as hundreds of supporters converged on Harbour Towne Beach in a sea of pink shirts. The group of supporters raised thousands of dollars with stand up paddle boarding and defeating cancer on their minds.

Stand Up for the Cure completed its fourth installment in Muskegon and no one was more stoked about the turnout than Van Dyck.

“We had 600 online registrations and over 100 walk ups, and at the end of the day, we’ll have raised close to $80,000 dollars,” said Van Dyck who got involved with the Stand Up for the Cure organization eight years ago in Newport Beach, California. “We want to encourage our communities to be empathetic and compassionate. At the same time we want to promote a healthy active life style to the breast cancer community and raise money for early detection.”

Early detection is key when it comes to surviving breast cancer as there is a 95% survival rate when found early enough.

In the eight years since Van Dyck’s involvement with the Susan G. Komen partnered event, Stand Up for the Cure has raised over $1.1 million and has helped screen over 1,200 people for breast cancer.

Detroit Red Wing and Mona Shores grad, Justin Abdelkader, follows in a straw hat as he paddles with others on Muskegon Lake. Photo/Marc Hoeksema

“We are raising money to help support our community members who can be faced with such an adversity like breast cancer,” said Van Dyck. “With the number of people who have been screened, we are definitely saving lives.”

Giving an added support on the beach this year was Muskegon’s very own Detroit Red Wing, Justin Abdelkader.

“Amazing to have Justin on the beach this year showing his support,” said Van Dyck. “It is leading community members like Justin who can make the difference in families lives just by being present. It also helps when he donates $1,000 like he did.”

With events in well known cities like Newport Beach, Miami, Atlanta and Seattle, it’s a wonder how Stand Up for the Cure was installed in Muskegon.

“Ambry Genetics was an early sponsor of ours and they had a presence here in Muskegon. So it made sense for them to expand their footprint,” said Van Dyck. “We felt at home here instantly and this has become an event that continues to amaze us.”

The day was filled with paddle boarding events, led by a 5k SUP race and a kids race. SUP clinics were also held as well as yoga instruction.

Van Dyck led a spirit filled Hawaiian blessing for breast cancer survivors and horned a ceremonial conch shell to launch the sea of pink onto Muskegon Lake. For more information about Stand Up for the Cure, visit their website at www.suftc.org.