I have known Mersh for a long time, and if he feels strongly about a project, it's something that I will take interest in. He is that type of friend.
We talked for about a half an hour and I then went over to paddle2live.org, the Paddle2live website, and read up on Jack Shimko and his fight with stage 2B Hodgkin's lymphoma. All the information about Jack's efforts to raise awareness and money for Livestrong by paddleboarding from Santa Barbara to Newport Beach from Sept. 23 to Oct. 2 is on this webpage.
I was fortunate to make contact with Jack, between his training efforts, to ask him a couple of questions.
How have you been feeling?
"I think good," he said. "It is problematic because I am shifting my body through all of this new training and nutrition. It is a big difference eating the types of calories that I am eating now every day. In terms of cancer, I am feeling good! And healthy as I have ever felt."
What have you been doing for training?
"I do a series of paddling, cross-fit and running to get in shape," he said. "I have been spending 40 to 70 hours a week. Each paddle is between four to six hours, and in my spare time I am busy raising $500,000 for cancer research and treatment."
Why did you pick paddling to raise awareness?
"I got hooked because I did the World Championships on the North Shore of Oahu, and soon after that I was diagnosed with cancer," he said. "I got hooked by the paddling in the race and then the next thing in my mind was cancer treatment."
What type of board will you be using?
"I am bringing three Joe Bark paddleboards that were very generously donated. The main board is an Unlimited, a 14-footer and a stocker. Stock is a 12-foot, and the Unlimited is 18.6-foot."