NAC We Are Ocean Cancer Support & Adventure Camp

We are excited to announce this unique opportunity to get more involved with the Newport Aquatic Center's 'We Are Ocean' Cancer Program.

87,500 teens and young adults will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Most will fight back through conventional means. At NAC / We Are Ocean, we will take them out of the chemo wards and ferry them deep into an ocean-based adventure.

The primary mission of the Newport Aquatic Center's 'We Are Ocean' Cancer Program is to provide free, ocean-based, transformational adventures for teens and young adults fighting cancer. We Are Ocean focuses on bringing intimate groups of cancer fighters together in coastal wilderness environments while providing opportunities for connection, self-discovery, empowerment, support and adventure.

Our goal is to raise enough funds in our community to cover the costs of a full week-long, ocean-based support and adventure camp for a group of teen and young adult cancer fighters in 2023. It costs $1,500 to send a young cancer fighter to Camp WAO. This includes transportation, accommodations, food + nutrition upgrade, gear/equipment, instructors/guides, and other activity expenses. *Out-of-area participants are responsible for their airfare.

Today, through the generous support of donors and volunteers, We Are Ocean has provided some 250 young adult cancer fighters with rich, immersive engagement in a wide variety of nautical pursuits, all grounded in a context of healing and deep community. The program, artfully captured by Richard Yelland in the award-winning 2015 documentary “Between Two Harbors,” provides participants a wide-ranging opportunity to experience the regenerative, healing, and often humbling power of the ocean, as well as to connect and share experiences with fellow survivors, many of whom go on to become lifelong friends and confidants. With your support, we are scheduled to serve 350 cancer fighters by the end of 2023.

In today’s world, it’s all too easy to feel alone in the midst of our battles, but for those fighting for their lives against an opponent like cancer, this is especially true. NAC / We Are Ocean participants report that the relationships and activities they discover at camp become critically important to their sense of self in their post-cancer lives. The sense of meaning and purpose that remains can also be found through the act of giving, which is partly why we’re asking for your support.

Through your partnership and love, the NAC / We Are Ocean Cancer Program can continue our vital work supporting and empowering teens and young adults affected by cancer. Donations directly help adventure programs for cancer fighters & survivors, bringing strength, joy, and peer support to the cancer fight.

Whether directly or through the experiences of a loved one, nobody has a choice in whether they’re affected by cancer. It touches every one of us. We do, however, have control over how we respond. Your partnership, support, and financial contributions directly fund our mission to create opportunities for teen and young adult cancer fighters to find strength, joy, purpose and community through adventure and engagement with nature.

From the moment we depart Newport Beach for Catalina Island, the Newport Aquatic Center’s “Camp We Are Ocean” transports and transforms participants via a carefully curated menu of activities, challenges, community, and healing.

Over the span of five days amidst the extraordinary island wilderness of Catalina, adult cancer survivors embark on a journey of adventure and discovery as they learn and practice a diverse array of expertly guided ocean activities. Through paddling, sailing, surfing, snorkeling and fishing, participants discover new sensations and abilities, expanding their sense of possibility and capability. Back on land, we cement and contextualize each experience through guided reflection, restorative yoga, and meditation. Along the way, through connection and sharing with fellow survivors, participants are reminded that while the journey through cancer is arduous, the burden of their experience, and the challenge of growing beyond it, is not borne alone.

Deep engagement in nature and sport and witnessing the inspiring progress of fellow cancer survivors provide participants with an incredible context of healing and reflection. Camp WAO guests return to shore with a renewed sense of purpose and possibility, new friends, and hopefully some healthy new habits they can carry with them throughout their lives.

“NAC’s Camp WAO was a gateway to a new life. A life where I would no longer hide things I want to share with the world—my thoughts, the moments that I see, songs that keep playing in my head. I used to be so afraid of what people would think, like I was afraid of the water. But I swam in it and I am alive and I had so much fun. Now I live an unapologetic life: I dance like no one is watching, I sing my heart out, I strive to live in joy.”
--Diana Vega - Undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma fighter / Camp WAO Nurse

“Initially, I was nervous & anxious to go to NAC's Camp WAO because I have become a germophobe post cancer treatment, however I made myself go because all of the Camp activities were right up my ally. What I didn’t know, is how much I was craving a sense of community. Camp WAO is very healing because it finally gives you a chance to talk story with people who understand your position. Listening to everyone’s experiences was very inspiring. As intimidating as it can be going to Camp with a bunch of strangers doing activities that may be out of your comfort zone, I encourage anyone who is interested to take the leap. The ocean is very therapeutic, rejuvenating and healing, but the bonds and relationships that come out of Camp are much greater. Plus, the food was really good!”
--Trevor Howard - Acute lymphoblastic leukemia fighter

“One of the hardest things about my diagnosis was feeling isolated and like few people understood what it was like to be a young mom going through treatment. During a day of surfing with NAC / WAO, I connected with other young women whose stories were very similar to mine. Cancer truly is the worst club with the best members - We Are Ocean has been a bridge between my old life and this new one.”
Alex Prabhu -- Invasive ductal breast cancer fighter

The challenges faced by Teen & Young Adult cancer fighters can be both overwhelming and arduous to take on alone, but with your support, they don't need to be alone. Your contribution to young cancer fighters makes a difference by helping them find empowerment in their lives after cancer and leading lives of purpose and joy. No donation is too small, and every dollar makes a difference.

Let’s see how many teen and young adult cancer fighters we can send to our 2023 cancer support camps on Catalina Island in Southern California. If we all do our part, we can help fund an entire Camp that costs between $27,000 - $30,000.

Thank you in advance for supporting the fight against cancer, one adventure at a time.

The Newport Aquatic Center is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. All donations are fully tax-deductible. Our Federal Tax ID: 95-3699894. You will receive a Donation Receipt by mail or email.

Cinematography / Edit & Photography by: James Lugo @lugo_lugo
Additional Footage & Photography by: Cameron Nelligan @cameron_nelligan
Photography by: Pascal Shirley @pascalshirley & Marshall Lally @marshall_lally
Copywriting by: Tyler Lindsay @tylerlindsay
Music: The Republic Tigers “Buildings and Mountains” @therepublictigers

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  • Corey Curtis
    • $25 
    • 8 mos
  • Daniel Cohen
    • $25 
    • 11 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $50 
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • $50 
    • 1 yr
  • Ben Jensen
    • $50 
    • 1 yr
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Newport Aquatic Center
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