The idea of rowing across an ocean still eludes me—despite my frequent conversations with crew members from the Origami Risk-sponsored rowing team about their aspirations to achieve such a feat.
Watch this video about the Origami Risk rowing team
I’ve learned about the difference between rudders and sterns; the need for leg strength, even more so than upper-body strength; and how the ballast helps improve the stability of the boat to help prevent flipping and sinking.
However, neither my enhanced rowing vocabulary, nor my newly-found knowledge of ocean rowing training regimens, has given me complete clarity as to what these two University of Georgia college students are about to undertake as they prepare for an ocean row from the coast of California to the coast of Hawaii.
What is abundantly clear, though, is their devotion to raising awareness for the genetic bleeding disorder hemophilia. Rower Jacob Pope, a former Origami intern, was born with hemophilia. Rower Chris Lee is studying genetics and is passionate about research that could lead to cures for genetic disorders like hemophilia.
Both Jacob and Chris have discussed what will keep them going on this projected 30-plus day journey out at sea—naturally, mentioning returning home to their friends and families to share anecdotes from their voyage. But they’ve also said rowing for a cause like hemophilia and the potential to make a real difference in the lives of those with the disorder will undoubtedly keep them on course.
I can personally attest to their ability to inspire others. They have certainly been an inspiration to me. I’m not likely to row an ocean anytime soon. However, I have felt compelled to step out of my comfort zone and tackle challenges that I have long written off as impossible or pipe dreams. Their story has encouraged me to think about taking risks, and of course the rewards that come with doing so.