WEBSTER – Santa and his elves, Frosty the Snowman and even the Grinch all came out to tread water Saturday on Webster Lake, all for a good cause.
Hosted by the Webster Water Ski Collective, Foxy Travel, Point Breeze, Wachusett Mountain Ski Area and the Menard family, the inaugural “SwaterSki to Fight Cancer” attracted 30 water skiers, many suited up in holiday garb.
The “SwaterSki,” a dual water-ski and snow-ski event, featured water skiing at the Point Breeze marina, followed by snow skiing at Wachusett Mountain in Princeton. The benefit is in memory of Christine Menard.
“My mother wasn’t a water skier. She wasn’t a snow skier. But those are two things that have been passions in my life,” Keith Menard, Christine Menard’s son and event organizer, said. “The sport of water skiing, especially, as well as snowboarding, has given me so much that it nice to try to find a way of taking those sports and giving back and doing something for others and not just yourself.”
Christine Menard, 71, died on Dec. 5, 2016, after a two-year battle with glioblastoma, “a very aggressive and currently incurable form of brain cancer,” Keith Menard said.
“It had, basically, been a two-year battle with brain cancer. I’d take her for walks every day. She started losing feeling in her left side, so it was hard for her to walk. So I was left side,” Keith Menard said. “After she passed away, I had this flood of emotions where my head was not where it needs to be. So my wife called up a friend of ours and said, ‘Hey, Keith really needs to go out for a water ski’ and it was December…And he unwinterized his boat and threw his boat in (the water). I threw on every piece of wetsuit equipment I could find. And I went for a ski and it was what I needed to clear my mind.”
Saturday’s event raised more than $12,000 for the National Brain Tumor Society. As for what his mother would have thought of the event, Keith Menard said she would have been a little bewildered
“My mom was a very, very humble person. So I think she would be wondering why people were doing stuff (in her memory),” Keith Menard said. “And I think she would think we were absolutely nuts water skiing in December.”
With 30 water skiers on Webster Lake, Keith Menard said he was overwhelmed by Saturday’s turnout.
“We had to put the docks back in a couple of weeks and the water was freezing then. We’re dropping the boats in today (Saturday) and, literally, we’re breaking ice, going through the channel to get the water skiers going,” Keith Menard said. “I’m dumbfounded by the amount of support that we’ve gotten for this little idea.”
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