Pamela Clark has gone through quite a journey over the past few years. The current Lake Oswego resident was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, a form of cancer, in 2002 and had to undergo six months of intense chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell infusion. But if you ask her, the most difficult part of the entire process was not being able to surf.
Now, two and a half years after finishing up her treatment and going into remission, Clark has earned a sponsorship which will help her continue her love of the sport for years to come.
Girls4Sport, a California-based performance clothing designer, is sponsoring Clark as its newest rider.
'It's great. I had helped out with some of their contests and they saw my Web site and decided to sponsor me,' Clark said.
Clark has been surfing for a relatively short amount of time. In fact, she first took up the sport just months before she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease.
But once she took up the sport, she was hooked for life. After receiving a debilitating bone marrow transplant, it took Clark just under two months to return to the water.
She would commute at least two or three times a week from the Portland area to the Oregon Coast to get in as much time on the water as possible.
Until recently, Clark was the chief drug and alcohol research analyst for the state of Oregon but she has now taken a job as a grant writer for a non-profit organization in order to spend more time in the water. And her sponsorship will help with that goal as well.
'I really wanted more time to surf. This has been a nice change,' Clark said.
Clark now travels at least three times a week from her Lake Oswego home to the coast to surf. She also has recently received her lifeguard certification and her surfer instruction certification, which enables her to teach surfing classes to children.
'I really enjoy (working with children.) It's definitely something I'd like to do more of,' Clark said.
While continuing to hone her surfing skills, Clark also acts as a judge for a number of surf contests and hopes to compete in an upcoming event at Newport.
'I actually think judging the contests is more fun than competing in them,' Clark said.
Clark's health continues to improve and she says that she now feels as good as she did prior to being diagnosed with Hodgkin's.
She is an active volunteer for The Surfrider Foundation and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and is constantly looking forward to her next surfing trip.
Over the next few months, Clark plans to attend a number of surf contests and hopes to make a road trip to California where Girls4Sport is sponsoring an event and she would also like to make a trip to Hawaii, surfing's Mecca.
But perhaps the biggest challenge that lies in front of Clark is her newest hobby.
'Right now I'm trying to learn how to cook,' Clark said.
For more information about Clark, visit her website at www.onewahine.com.