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'Stand Up' makes a big splash


Paddleboard race provides good time for all in raising awareness of NF

by: KEVIN KING - Mike Bates was one of 136 competitors in the field of Stand Up to NF. The first-time event was rated a huge success.When an event can surpass even the expectations of Kevin King it has really done something.

King speaks largely in exclamation points and superlatives, and he was using plenty of them to describe the success of the first Stand Up to NF (neurofibromatosis) paddleboard race in West Linn on Aug. 4. There has not been such excitement since the “Beach Party” movies.

“It was a blast! Unreal!!!” King said. “Our event was a total sellout and we raised $6,700 for NF. What an incredible first year!”

Stand Up to NF was an event that had everything — a full field of 136 competitors and 34 teams, hundreds of enthusiastic spectators on the beach on the Willamette River and a spectacular come-from-behind finish by the winning team.

The event’s biggest accomplishment is that is did what King, the event’s founder and director, wanted to do: raise awareness of the fight against neurofibromatosis, a disease that causes tumors to grow on any nerve of the body. The disease may have finally met its match with King and his collaborators.

“We had a fantastic time, and it was a great cause,” King said. “This was such a great community effort in West Linn. We got such great help from the West Linn police.”

The finish of the race should have been shown on ESPN. Going into the final stretch, the CrossFit team was way ahead by about 200 yards. But the Tom Moore family of Lake Oswego staged a monumental rally and took the trophy.

“They smoked everybody,” King said. “It was fun to watch. It was like an Olympic event.”

This special day had a special guest, 3-year-old Natalie Peterson. With her golden curls and beaming smile she was the poster child of Stand Up to NF. Natalie has neurofibromatosis. She was there with her mother, Kelly Peterson, a longtime friend of King, who played a key part in helping him put on the event.

Stand Up to NF would not have been the same without little Natalie. King also gave credit for the success of the event to Sean Owen, who rallied his Abby’s Army (named after his daughter Abby, who also suffers from NF) to support Stand Up in a big way.

“Sean has such a big following in the Portland NF community,” King said. “He really made a difference.”

Of course, it started with Kevin King, and he wants to make Stand Up to NF a yearly event, raising the tide of awareness of NF until the disease is finally overwhelmed.

“Wait till next year!” King said.

by: KEVIN KING - Everyone has their own style of paddling, including Steve Gatt. The paddleboard race featured a fantastic finish.by: KEVIN KING - Steve Gatt plots his strategy during Stand Up to NF. The event raised $6,700 for its cause - raising awareness and finding a cure for neurofibromatosis.

by: KEVIN KING - Crowds of happy spectators swarmed the beach on the Willamette River to watch Stand Up to NF. They were rewarded with an incredibly exciting finish.