Shoreline breast cancer survivor among 587 in Row for the Cure on Seattle’s Lake Union September 18

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Martha's Moms rowing crew in the Row for the Cure.  Photo by Michael Garrison.

By Mike McQuaid

Seventy-one year-old breast cancer survivor Poo Penrose of Shoreline was among 587 rowers and dragon boat paddlers making a big splash against breast cancer last Sunday morning, September 18, 2011 on Seattle’s Lake Union at the 12th annual Row for the Cure regatta.

The local breast cancer fundraiser has grown to become the largest benefit rowing regatta on the West Coast and is among the top third-party fundraisers of the Puget Sound Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  In partnership with USRowing and the George Pocock Rowing Foundation, the local regatta has raised over a half-million dollars for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and is among regattas in 16 states and Germany that have generated over $2 million for Komen affiliates.

Latham and Penrose in bow of boat
Photo by Michael Garrison
Penrose, along with her daughter Nancy Penrose Latham of Snohomish, is among breast cancer survivors from throughout the region powering some 110 rowing shells Sunday morning.  The two successfully defended last year’s title in the parent/child eight-oared event since they were the only mother-daughter team!   Penrose is among five members of Fremont’s Martha’s Moms Rowing Club that have been diagnosed with the disease over the years.
After losing her own mother to breast cancer at the age three and later surviving her own scrap with the disease, Penrose knows that rowing has been the constant that helped her regain her life and a means to encourage other women, including her daughter, to be more vigilant with their self exams.
“The real meat in this fight, and rowing, are the people,” said Penrose, who practices three mornings a week with her “Moms” team, a group of 20 women aged 45 – 72 named for its first coach Martha Beattie, the wife of former Seattle Mariners pitcher Jim Beattie.  
“Thanks to the work of Komen there is so much more awareness of this disease and the importance of early detection than when my mom was diagnosed.  If you seek help there are so many doors that are now open.”
Crews representing 19 local rowing clubs from Seattle, Redmond, Bainbridge and Vashon Islands, Renton and Everett started near Seattle Pacific University in the Lake Washington Ship Canal and raced around the south end of Lake Union to the finish line on the lake’s east shore.

Penrose and Latham help power their Martha’s Moms crew to a 23 minute, 49.6 second finish.  Over 600 rowers from 19 local clubs participated in the local regatta, one of 20 across 16 US states and Germany.  With fundraising continuing through November 1, the event has already raised $57,000.  

To contribute to a Susan G. Komen for the Cure through a rowing club in your community visit Row for the Cure.

A celebration honoring participants and breast cancer survivors was held at Seattle’s Pocock Rowing Center after the race.


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