JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Talk about star power for a fundraiser.
Seven members of the U.S. Olympic rowing team, which won gold in Beijing, came to Jacksonville for Row for the Cure Saturday at The Bolles School.
Students and families launched this event six years ago for Komen for the Cure North Florida to help fight breast cancer.
Six years ago, the event raised $3,000. This year, volunteers raised 50 times that much, almost $150,000!
That makes the First Coast Row for the Cure the most successful row of 17 similar events nationwide. Some of the funding will help women get free mammograms through Komen grants.
Eight rowing teams participated, seven from the First Coast plus the 2008 U.S. Olympic Gold medalists. About 250 rowers participated.
They came from:
The Bolles School
Stanton College Prep
Episcopal High School
St. Johns Country Day School
Jacksonville Rowing Club
Sons of Norway (with the replica Viking warship).
The Olympians said one of their team members lost an aunt to breast cancer. That was one motivation for their enthusiasm.
One student stands out. Allie Bradley, the coxswain for Episcopal's varsity crew team, raised about $5,000 this year for Row for the Cure by selling candy bars, pizza and tickets to fundraising breakfasts and dinners.
Because of her hard work, Allie served as coxswain for the Olympic team - directing the world's best rowers on the St. Johns River on Saturday.
First Coast News' Jeannie Blaylock has joined with Komen for the Cure North Florida to launch the First Mammogram Hotline on the First Coast. If you know someone who can't afford a mammogram, pass along this hotline number: 1-877-9-MY-MAMO.
First Coast News