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Skateboard art takes aim at fighting breast cancer
Summer Fishburn makes her way past hand painted skateboards at the Boarding for Breast Cancer fundraiser Friday night at the Main Street Café. - photo by HIME ROMERO
When Manteca artist Jill Guimont-Paddack was asked to come up with skateboard designs for Friday night’s Skate and Destroy art show and auction to benefit breast cancer research, she jumped at the chance.

The quick answer came partially because of Vida Loca skateboard owner Frank Alvarado’s enthusiasm towards the event, and also because of the opportunity to bring some awareness about the disease that will be diagnosed in more than 260,000 women this year and kill almost 40,000 of them.

“People have asked me why I was doing this and the answer was simple: Frank’s passion is contagious,” said Guimont-Paddack. “If my artwork can bring even a small amount of awareness, then it did its job.”

Guimont-Paddack crafted two skateboard deck designs for the show – a blue board that took her more than three hours to complete, and the “Hope” deck that she figured took around five hours to wrap-up. With her busy schedule she rarely gets a chance to put her Bachelors of Arts in art to good use. She was ecstatic when she learned that she’d have a chance to do something artistic and at the same time benefit a cause.

Finding the motivation and the inspiration, she said, was the easy part.

“I love doing anything that brings out the creative spirit in me, and this was a chance to do just that,” she said. “A lot of times I don’t have the opportunity to tackle projects like this, and I’m grateful that I had the chance.”

Linda Floyd, who also crafted two decks for Friday’s event at Main Street Cafe, had a more personal reason to take on the projects.

Just last week, Floyd held the hand of a friend who had just undergone breast cancer surgery and immediately figured that she’d be her inspiration completing the project that will give the money to Boarding for Breast Cancer.

So the lady who received an art scholarship from famed artist Norman Rockwell 45 years ago jumped right in and started working on designing decks that show women that are survivors of the disease. It is a message that she hoped to spread to the people who were going to bid on her finished products.

“I think it’s wonderful to see the funds go to a cure because we need more survivors out there,” she said. “It’s amazing seeing the turnout that we have, and I think that more people need to be aware.

“There needs to be hope for a cure.”

Event organizer Frank Alvarado first came up with the idea to do so after the cancer death of longtime friend Katy McKenzie. He was amazed at both the turnout and the overwhelming support of artists in the community who wanted to step up and paint the decks that were on display Friday night.

“It’s inspiring to see so many people here, and it makes me think that we can go bigger,” said Alvarado, who gave out the decks from his own company and painted five himself for the event. “This year I really didn’t have to do any work on this because so many people volunteered to help me. I actually had to turn people away.

“It’s powerful to see people that are already asking me if they can get involved for next year. It’s good that people see that this is a cause worth supporting.”