First the good news: The “Row For Blood” campaign has raised $10,000 for charity, namely The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada.
Now the other news: I have another change of plans. I’m postponing my ocean row again and this time I’m wrapping up my “Row For Blood” campaign and will start fresh again in the future. The reason is a lack of sponsors to support the campaign.
With three months to launch date I have not yet been invoiced for my Pay-Per-Seat, I haven’t bought any food yet, booked flights, sublet my apartment, or found a replacement at work. I’m at a crucial stage where the consequences of withdrawing from the Great Pacific Race are ultimately quite minimal. All of you who have generously given to my campaign, I still have your money. And I’d like to donate it charity, call that a win, and start fresh with a new campaign once I’m able to figure out how to get the support I need from sponsors, or save up to pay for it myself, whichever comes first.
For those of you who are following my progress in preparing myself to row across the ocean will know that I’ve changed things a few times along the way. First, I intended to go solo in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2015. That didn’t work out. The budget for a row across the ocean is between $150,000 – $200,000 depending on the boat and gear you choose. And if you’re going solo then you’re responsible for sourcing out all the funds on your own. Well, as it turns out, I’ve got audacity for days, but my business and sales acumen could use some improvement. The Talisker race is on right now and after 70 days there are 3 teams still making their way to shore. I had hoped to be in that race. But, I couldn’t get the money together, so I postponed until the next year. I thought, give me another year and I can do it, I can raise the money.
Then, after months passed and I had made little financial improvement a new opportunity came up: rowing in the Great Pacific Race in 2016 with a team of 4. With a team of four the costs are significantly reduced. Everything combined would be less than $50,000 and I could maybe even do it for as little as $35,000 depending on product donations and my own saved money. I thought, if I can’t raise this amount of money to be in a team effort then I have no business continuing my attempt to raise money to row solo. I thought that because I felt positive that I would be able to raise the mere $30-$40,000. Alas, it would not be so. I want to believe that I could still get the money together over the next few months. But, if I move forward with my $8000 and change, charging on with the hope that I’ll crack the code and get sponsors on my side just in time, well, I risk losing that money or going into debt for the next 5 years or so. And as my brother likes to point out to me, “hope is not a strategy”.
Debt is not a good option for me. It’s an option I have chosen frequently in life, which is what makes this decision to not move forward actually a brave decision for myself. At the cost of my pride I’m making a sensible financial choice. And I haven’t made a lot of those in my life. At 41, I think it’s time I start.
I feel bad for withdrawing from the team that was originally formed in December 2015. But, I was actually the only teammate remaining from the recruitment. The other three already withdrew for similar reasons. The organizers did find one replacement so far and I hate to leave her in the lurch, but with enough time to adjust plans I’m confident she’ll get a spot on a boat. And the organizers won’t have to keep working on recruiting even more people for the teams. This is my thought process that validates why now is a good time to make this decision. And so, I feel that wrapping up the Row For Blood campaign is the right thing to do.
I had 3 goals with this project:
1) Have a life-changing experience.
2) Raise money for charity.
3) Honour my Dad’s life in a special way.
The life changing experience is going to have to wait. And, the fact that I’m choosing that is actually a big change for me, so that’s something. By withdrawing from the race now, before I’ve spent the money I’ve raised so far, I cut out the middle portion of the process and simply donate the money directly to the charity, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. Voila, I’ve raised thousands of dollars for charity. Goal Achieved!
As for honouring my Dad, I believe that making this choice is actually the best way I could honour his memory. He was a financially practical man and was always reminding me to prepare for retirement and save for the future. I’m still working on that. And to delay good financial choices for 5-10 years (the time it would take for me to pay off my debts if I continued down this path) is no honour to him.
The dream is still there. I know that I’m going to one day row across an ocean. I don’t yet know how or when but I know it’s going to happen. My intuition told me to pursue this dream. My intuition tells me now that it’s best to stop for the time being. I feel it in my gut that when the time is right, when I find the magical solution to fund the row in a mutually beneficial arrangement, then I will be out there. I will row that ocean.
- $10,000 raised for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
- World Record on the indoor rower: 26 hours of continual rowing
- Passion for ocean rowing resulting in starting a new website: Ocean Rowing World (coming soon)
- Huge show of support from friends, family, fans, and media.
Thank you everyone for all your support. It is disappointing that the outcome hasn’t worked out differently. If I could, I’d be out there on the ocean in a blink of the eye. But, life is all about process. And this is the process I’m in now. I’ll keep you informed on where it takes me next.