In the same boat

 

For many Durangoans, spring is time to hit the water. But for a few extra hearty souls, it will be time to really hit the water. On June 8, team “Human Powered Potential” will be setting out in their 28-foot fiberglass sea home, American Spirit, to row from California’s Monterey Bay to Kauai. The four-man team is made up of Brendan Cusick, Patrick Morrissey and Peter Durso, all of Durango, and Scott Forman, of Albuquerque. 

Known as the “World’s Toughest Row,” the 2,800-mile journey is expected to take 30-40 days. Or about three times longer than the average Grand Canyon trip, but with no beer. The men plan to row in two-person teams in two-hour shifts, while the other two conceivably nap in what appears to be a cubby the size of a Subaru hatchback or order out for pizza. (Just kidding – the delivery fees would be a fortune.)

The team, which combined has more than 125 years of land-based adventuring throughout the world, has been working in earnest to get its sea legs on for more than a year. (And, luckily there are a few MDs on the team, just in case).

But, they aren’t rowing across the Pacific just for glory and great suntans. They are doing it to raise funds for Parkinson’s Disease research through the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Morrissey, who grew up in Durango, has a spot on the DHS athletic wall of fame and was a Division I wrestler in college, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2019. (The disease is characterized by tremors, however, Morrissey said that his tremors seem to be calmed while on the water.)

Matt Ackerman, an “honorary” team member and the team’s fundraising lead, also lives with Parkinson’s.

“We know with the right support and resources, individuals living with Parkinson’s can lead fulfilling lives,” the team wrote. 

The team has set a goal of raising $28 million, in honor of the 2,800 miles. And thanks to an anonymous donor, all donations will be matched three to one.

If you’d like to meet the men behind the mission, shake their soon-to-be very calloused hands or throw some money into the pot, Team HPP will be at 11th St. Station this Fri., May 3, from 4-9 p.m. The event will also feature a question-and-answer session (prize to the first person who asks about the groover).

If you can’t attend but still want to donate, visit humanpoweredpotential.org. And if you’d like to know more about the World’s Toughest Row (we have a hard enough time on the rower at the gym) or track the team’s progress, go to: worldstoughestrow.com/the-pacific.

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