NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) - One New Jersey woman is literally standing up to cancer.
Margo Pellegrino resumed her attempt to paddleboard up the entire 127-mile New Jersey coast, hours after rip currents and a strong tide forced her to take a break.
Pellegrino, of Medford Lakes, resumed her trip late Tuesday morning from Ship Bottom, where she spent the night after dangerous currents forced her out of the water around 3 a.m. She’s making the trip to raise money for childhood cancer research, prompted by the illness of a close friend’s child.
She set out early Monday from Cape May on a slow journey up the coast, and had hoped to arrive in Sandy Hook on Tuesday afternoon.
But around 3 a.m. she decided to come ashore in Ship Bottom on Long Beach Island because conditions had gotten too rough.
“It was brutal,” she said Tuesday morning while eating breakfast. “The winds picked up and I was going against a strong current. I knew it was pretty dangerous and I really didn’t have an option.”
She’s doing this to help a friend whose child has neuroblastoma, a form of cancer. Pellegrino posted the following on her blog, “Any time I get tired I will think about my friend Julia and her husband, who show amazing grace and stamina in the face of the extreme illness of their little boy, Charlie. He’s in the “year after treatment” round of tests every three months to determine if the latest new treatment CHOP used did in fact save his life. So far, two tests down with “NED” (“no evidence of disease”) and shrinking tumors (he’s stage IV), it’s looking extremely good. No parent should have to go through watching their kid suffer so.Hopefully, I can be as strong as Michael and Julie. I’m sure gonna try like hell!”
“Not a day goes by when I don’t think about her and her family,” Pellegrino added. “If given the chance to help, how could I not in some way help them and others going through the same horrible ordeal?”
Donations can be made through a link on her web site, http://www.miami2maine.com.
That site’s name is taken from a journey she made a few years ago, from the tip of Florida up to Maine. She has also paddled from Seattle to San Diego.
Pellegrino feels potential cures for human diseases might be discovered in the oceans, if the mankind stops polluting them. AZT, the breakthrough AIDS treatment drug, “is a chemical copy of a chemical produced by an ocean-living sponge,” she said.
“What other cures might be found in the ocean?” Pellegrino said. “What discoveries might we miss if we continue along this path of ocean degradation and destroy potential cures before they can be discovered?”
Pellegrino is carrying a GPS transmitter and her progress can be tracked online as she makes her way up the coast.
You can also follow Pellegrino via Twitter @slowpaddler.