The paddling world is pretty tight knit and comes together when someone’s in need. That’s the case with Pyranha, which is launching a boat raffle fundraiser for GinaVisalli, the fiancé of longtime team paddler Dave Fusilli of White Salmon, Wash., who has been fighting breast cancer. “We’re raffling a boat to raise the money,” says Pyranha’s Michael Patterson of the donated 9R II Medium in Fuchsia with custom anodized handles and security points.“And while it’s only been live since February 1, we’re seeing a huge response.”
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If you’re a whitewater kayaker, chances are you know Fusilli, or know of him. His better half, Gina, a kayaker, mountain biker, skier and nurse, has put up with his antics over their nearly seven years together, allowing a constant stream of homeless kayakers through their house in White Salmon and supporting his personal kayaking ambitions.
Gina was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2019 and immediately went into the twilight zone of treatments; seemingly endless appointments, injections, radiation, hair loss, fatigue and more. While she is not yet in the clear, the worst of it is over, and she’s slowly starting to build herself back up to the person she was before the treatments.
However, it’s more than a physical obstacle; the worry of its return and the financial burden still linger. Gina was unable to work during much of the treatment, and has shelled out thousands of dollars for the medical care she had no choice but to pursue.
“Pyranha is a family,” says Patterson, “and Dave has been part of our family for a long time, so Gina’s diagnosis hit us all hard and we have tried to show our support and send positive thoughts along the way. Now that she is over the first hurdle, we’d like to help make a difference by raising some money to help cover her medical expenses.”
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