Monster and Sea 24: Q&A with Troy Nebekker

Lisa Schell Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Monster and Sea 24

If you don’t know Monster and Sea, you need to. Cool tee shirts, hoodies and other gear designed with the water and what we all do in mind and based in the Pacific Northwest.  The mastermind behind it is Troy Nebeker, who started the company after cancer hit his family hard.  Here’s part of the story from the M&S website:

“Monster and Sea was inspired by a morning on the water when there wasn’t much left. Mentally drained from all that cancer brought into my family. Honestly – didn’t know what to do.

In those moments when you are at the end of yourself – things can become very clear. Give back. Make use of the skills you have to do some good and help. Create a brand that inspires people to celebrate being alive, being healthy and being able to step outside and go where the day takes them.

So how do you start? It’s simple. Go. Don’t waste another second reading or wondering or searching for the snooze. Grab the coffee, put the boards up and go. Go because you can.

We promise – you won’t be disappointed.”

Go because you can.

Several years ago, Troy took that idea one step further.  Going because you can to help people who can’t.  He started the 24.  A 24 hour team relay paddle, where the grassroots money raised would be hand delivered in envelopes to local families struggling to deal with cancer.  The idea was simple: let those folks know they are not alone. Now there are at least 24 teams all across the country who will raise their paddles through the day and night to  help those in their communities. Teams are still being added!

This year’s event takes place on April 14-15.  Chances are there’s a team paddling near you:

Alberta
Boise
Cayman Islands
Chattanooga /Atlanta  (Coolidge Park, Chattanooga)
Cultus Lake, B.C.
Edmonton
Frenchman’s Bay, B.C.
Hood River, OR  (Hood River Event Site)
Ithaca, NY
Morro Bay, CA
Naramata B.C.
Newport, CANew York, NY
Nicola Valley, B.C.
Pensacola
Portland (Willamette Park/Sailing Club)
San Diego
Santa Cruz
Seattle  (Pocock Rowing Center)
Tampa Bay  (Anchor Bar & Grill)
Toronto
Tuscaloosa  (University of Alabama SUP club!)
Vancouver, B.C.  (Vanier Park)
Victoria, B.C. (Pacifica Paddle Sports, Brentwood Bay)
Wrightsville (Blockade Runner, Wrightsville Beach)

Check out Monster and Sea’s Facebook page for more information. The NC Mullet Staff in its entirety will again be paddling the 24 for the Wrightsville Beach team, and the Blockade Runner will be our base camp. If you are local, please stop by and say hi. And please donate. Any amount helps.

Here’s a brief Q&A with Troy….

How many teams  are there this year?

25 cities and some cites have multiple teams!

What makes The 24 unique?

This is a 100% a grassroots effort to inspire communities to help others. It is giving from the heart. Okay, that is fine and dandy but what does that mean?
There are no tax deductions or return for what people are doing. People are giving because they genuinely want to help. And when you donate to a team you know that your dollar is going directly into the hands of people dealing with cancer.

How many year have you been doing the 24 hour fundraising paddle now?

This is our 4th year. Crazy!

What has changed about it over the years?

The number of people that we have been able to help as a community. It is humbling.

What had changed the leas?

Peoples willingness to help others. It is awesome.

Do you have any favorite stories associated with the 24?

This is a really hard question. Because for all the victories there is also great sadness. Here are a couple stories about both. Why tell the sad ones? Because it is important to remember how important it is to live life to the fullest. You never, ever know.
From Vancouver: 

“I’m a new member of the Vanier 24 team. I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer at the end of May last year. I consider myself lucky: I have two wonderful boys (now 13 and 17), a home, and a good job. As a single mom I’ve always had to keep my budget balanced tightly, but I would never have imagined a situation where I would need help. Cancer was that situation. Eight weeks from diagnosis I had over $7000 in unexpected bills, not factoring in hospital parking and incidentals such as pre-prepared meals. This included partial payment for an immune-boosting medication the oncologist strongly advised in conjunction with my form of chemo: at $3000 per injection, and four injections planned, it was a killer lifesaver. Then chemo started. I hired someone to clean and keep food on the table for the boys on the rough days. I had to hire someone else to tidy the neglected yard (I am lucky: I have a yard). At that point my out-of-town family met with me to discuss the need to sell the home. Then — literally, just then — Estelle Matheson walked through the door, deus ex machina, with an envelop. I never cry, but I sure did at that point. I may not have been able to express it well at the time, but know that I was so very grateful for that gesture — for the expression of compassion as much as anything else — and I resolved to pay that money forward when my situation stabilized. It’s about nine months since my diagnosis. I started work again on 1 March. This year I will paddle with the Vanier Park 24. I am also supporting a woman recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer who does not make a living wage. What goes around comes around. For your compassion and inspiration, thank you all so very much.”

From Morro Bay, CA
“The paddling, that’s the easy part. Envelope delivery, well, nothing can prepare you for what you’ll experience. There are very little degrees of separation between the folks on either side of the envelope. For Team Morro Bay, a local paddler, friend, and envelope recipient, lost her battle just a couple days ago. It didn’t sink in right away until it did, heavily. Cancer affects everyone. They’re not just patients or stories. They didn’t grow up as children and young adults preparing to battle cancer. They are just like you and I. A single father with a 16 year-old daughter, a small business owner, a retired law enforcement officer, a single mom with a 10 year old daughter, a 17 year-old girl, and a 5 year-old girl with Downs. We delivered those seven envelopes last year….and four more in the previous year. You’ll have some recipients that reach out to thank you and others that just can’t.”
From Seattle:
“Will remember this conversation until my days are over.  The office building was nothing fancy and the receptionist was very nice when I said hello.  Typically, I would have left the envelope with her to make sure it got to its final destination. But today was different.  This was a friend of a friend and he knew I was on the way over.  His son, who was a healthy and vibrant young man, was diagnosed with brain cancer and life changed drastically for his family.  We shook hands and he invited me to sit down.  Man to man.  Dad to dad. He had a difficult time looking at me. ‘I know why you are here. Have done a little research on Monster and Sea.’  I smiled, answered a few of his questions and gently put the envelope on his desk.  He looked at me and paused.  After a long silence, he said, ‘I don’t want it.’  That was hard to hear – but what he said next reached in and crushed the heart.  ‘If I take that – it means admitting that something is wrong with my son.’  It felt like all the air left the room.  My head was spinning.
 
After finding some courage – we talked about a breath of fresh air, a small window to stop thinking about cancer and a community of people who care.
Our conversation ended with a handshake and a hug.  And the envelope – it stayed on his desk.”
 

What does the future hold for the 24?

Keep it simple: Inspire people to do what they love for the benefit of others.  This community is awesome.

And so are you, Troy Nebeker, so are you.

 

John Patzer Photography