When Frank Alvarado organized a team to head up to Lake Tahoe for the Skate the Lake event the first time, it was in honor of a friend who was battling for her life.
Weakened by her treatments and the brutality of cancer, she was there at the finish line when he rolled across in the fundraiser for Boarding for Breast Cancer.
That led Alvarado to step up his efforts to get people involved in the fight against breast cancer. Among his efforts is the Fourth Annual Paint and Destroy fundraiser on Friday at the Main Street Café.
“I thought it would be cool to have an event where we would get people involved to paint skateboard decks and auction them off to raise money for that cause,” Alvarado said. “I didn’t think it would grow the way that it has. We started the first year with 18 submissions and now we’re up to 70 – we have firefighters, pro skateboarders and big name artists from the Bay Area that are getting involved with this.
“People have really come out of the woodwork to support this event, and all I have to do is let people know – they take care of the rest. The event kind of pulls itself together.”
Two weeks ago Alvarado worked his way around Lake Tahoe with his oldest son – who was just a baby when he did it the first time – for the non-profit fundriaser.
Alvarado now serves as Boarding for Breast Cancer’s Regional Ambassador for Central California. He has since started his own annual skating event in Manteca – Ride the Tide – which attracts more than 100 people every year to ride anything on wheels along the Tidewater Bikeway to raise money for the organization.
The event will be entering its third year in November.
Everything kicks off for the fourth annual art show and auction at 6 p.m. at Main Street Café , 1464 W. Yosemite Avenue.
“It’s a small, grassroots non-profit, and to see how they put their money back into the community and going to the events and seeing how they reach out to children and young people to promote awareness – that really reached out to me,” Alvarado said of his involvement. “And the fact that they use action sports to promote their message – whether it’s a skateboard or snowboard or surfboard – appealed as well.
“The fact that I had a friend die from cancer really kicked it into gear for me and made me want to reach out and donate my time.”
It’s backing from Main Street Café owner Jacqui Arellano and people from throughout the area, Alvarado says, that has helped the event grow and allowed him to organize “Ride the Tide” and put together groups that make the trek to Lake Tahoe.
“It means a lot to me that people keep coming out – I’ve developed a lot of friendships that I’ll carry with me,” he said. “A lot of people are going through this fight and it’s a medium for them to grab onto something and run with it – these people play such a big part of the event even though it was something that I thought of. They’re the ones that make it successful.
“It’s a chance to educate people and let people know that there are others going through the same thing. That’s what it’s all about.”
The event is being sponsored by Alvarado’s Vida Loca Skateboards and the Main Street Café.