What is Fin Forward?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012
By, Brandon Bethea
What is Fin Forward?

Imagine the life-changing impact of swimming next to a 40-foot whale shark, looking through the lens at a great white, or diving with wild dolphins. That is our focus at Fin Forward, the first charitable organization to specialize in marine encounters for cancer survivors. Fin Forward partners with best-in-class providers to create life embracing, therapeutic adventures with sharks, dolphins, whales, and other marine life. We believe in the benefits of shared experiences, the strength of the survivalist spirit, and the power of personal courage. Simply put, we like to think of Fin Forward as the place “where dreams become blue.”

In 2006, my mother was diagnosed with an advanced case of lung cancer and given just months to live. During that time, she shared with me her dream of always wanting to go to Australia. She had even saved enough frequent flyer miles for the trip but, now, had neither the time nor energy to go. So, a few months after she passed, I decided to take that trip down under in order to fulfill her legacy.

There I was…14,000 miles from home, 60 feet deep, surrounded by great white sharks. Suddenly, my calling hit me in a cage. Why not help cancer survivors with their own bucket lists and harness the transforming power of these types of experiences? In that cage at 11:11AM that day, the idea behind Fin Forward was born.

Since that great white shark expedition in Australia, Fin Forward has created marine encounters for cancer survivors involving whale sharksblue sharks, and other marine life. For those in the cancer community with a less adventurous side, we offer other activities such as movie nights, aquarium visits, virtual shark adoptions, and educational events.

For 2012, we are planning a Mayan Shark Odyssey and partnering with First Descents and Halos of Hope for other ocean-based adventures. In addition to sending their hats to cancer centers across the country, Halos of Hope makes shark hats for our survivors.

Fin Forward is also a major organizer for Dive the Coast, a charity relay to cover the California coast. During the month of June 2013, our team of local survivors will help “carry the flag” for our portion of the San Diego coastline.

Given this powerful pairing of sharks and survivors, we believe Fin Forward is in a unique position to promote both cancer awareness and shark conservation, while also dispelling some of the myths that exist about sharks and cancer. For this, we partner with organizations such as the Shark Angels and Shark Chums, which organizes some of our local shark dives.

As a relatively new organization, we welcome your participation as a moral supporter, virtual volunteer, or cancer survivor. Fin Forward also has ongoing business needs in several areas like legal, accounting, P.R., graphic design, and web development.

For more information, please visit the Fin Forward website and Facebook page. You can also join the Fin Forward family by following us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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