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Social Hour: Flatwater Foundation Brings Hundreds of Paddlers to Lake Austin

The Austin-based nonprofit raised record-breaking funds for neighbors dealing with cancer diagnoses in Central Texas

Alyssa Cornett
Alyssa Cornett (photo by Caleb Kerr Photo)

On September 11, hundreds of paddlers gathered on Lake Austin for Dam That Cancer presented by TYLER’S. In its 14th year, this cherished event is the main fundraiser for local nonprofit Flatwater Foundation.

The organization was founded in 2010 by Mark Garza after his father received a devastating cancer diagnosis. In search of support, it became apparent how expensive and inaccessible vital care is for those affected by cancer, including therapy for loved ones.

Ever since, the organization has been committed to easing the immense mental and emotional strain on Central Texas families and individuals by providing resources, counseling services and a life changing network of professionals. But this isn’t your average annual gala.

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Mark Garza (photo by Caleb Kerr Photo)

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Jamie Jenkins and Jill Garrett (photo by Caleb Kerr Photo)

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TJ Turner and Trey Hardee (photo by Caleb Kerr Photo)

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Alyssa Cornett (photo by Caleb Kerr Photo)

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Willy Woods (photo by Caleb Kerr Photo)

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Trey Hardee & his daughter (photo by Caleb Kerr Photo)

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(photo by Caleb Kerr Photo)

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John Eitel, Peyton Eitel, Patrick Eitel (photo by Caleb Kerr Photo)

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Mansfield Dam (photo by Caleb Kerr Photo)

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Loop 360 Bridge (photo by Caleb Kerr Photo)

At this year’s Dam That Cancer, 230 selected participants of varying skill levels completed an arduous 10-hour, 21-mile course from Lake Austin’s Mansfield Dam to Tom Miller Dam. After the impressive trek through the water, paddlers were treated to a party at LCRA Redbud Center.

While Flatwater has already had an astonishing impact on thousands of families, including 60,500 sessions of therapy donated, their ambition to give back has only grown. Having broken their previous record with $1.2 million in 2022, the organization pledged to reach $1.3 million in 2023, and the paddlers surpassed their goal by over $80,000.

Flatwater receives hundreds of applications each year for the Dam That Cancer presented by TYLER’S paddle. If you’re interested in participating, join the waitlist and learn more about the nonprofit’s mission at flatwaterfoundation.org.