When you think of skateboarding teenagers, you might picture “No Skateboarding” signs in mall parking lots or, perhaps, that film Lords of Dogtown, but would you ever think of fighting cancer? If you had been to Skateraid, you would. Every year, for the past seven years, teenagers have gathered at East Decatur Station to skate, listen to music, appreciate art, and raise money to fight childhood cancer.
Skateraid started in 2005 when Volkmar Wochatz lost his fifteen-year-oldÂ son Ian to brain cancer. Along with friends, Volkmar decided to hold a fundraiser to offset the costs of Ian’s medical care. Why a fundraiser centered around skating? Simply because Ian loved to skate. That first Skateraid raised over $14,000.
Following this success, Skateraid, originally meant to be a single fundraising event,Ã‚Â is now an annual festival that “kids expect,” Volkmar explains. And since 2005, itÂ has grown-more recent Skateraids have raised over $16,000. The 2009 Skateraid raised nearly $20,000. This year’s Skateraid on Sunday, September 25thÂ will be put on by more than 100 volunteers and will include donations from local restaurants and businesses such as Zucca, Brickstore Pub, Stratosphere Skate Shop and Kroger.
Also donated: nearly one hundred skateboard decks designed by artists. These colorful decks are displayed on the walls of the Brickstore Pub and then sold in an auction at Skateraid. This year, all of the decks can also be viewed on the Skateraid website where bids can be placed prior to the auction.
Even the music at Skateraid is donated. Each year local high school bands, many from Decatur High, audition to perform at Skateraid. If chosen, the teenagers perform for only publicity and to support a good cause. This year’s bands include Already Taken, Swamp, Social Cellar, and Lucy Dreams.
One very important donation, according to Volkmar, is the space at East Decatur Station. With the high costs of event venues and fees, not having the donated space at EDS might have made Skateraid financially impossible. “Letting us use the whole space,” he says, “that’s an incredible contribution.” Because of all of these donations, over the years, Skateraid has given to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the RET Foundation, and the Brain Tumor foundation. If you would like to volunteer or donate, contact Cathy Keeler at email@example.com.