SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Keiki Paddle, a Santa Barbara nonprofit organization, honored Chris Sellers, a teen diagnosed with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma.
Chris Sellers was a high school junior at Santa Barbara High School. He worked at the Pet House in Goleta. During this time, he was focusing on getting into college and studying Marine Biology/Environmental Science.
On December 9th Chris was diagnosed with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma and on December 11th Chris had a port put in his chest, two bone marrow tests, a spinal tap and immediately began 3 days of light chemotherapy.
He went home for a week and then started his first of six full rounds of chemotherapy. For each round of chemo, he was in the hospital for 5 to 6 days every month for 6 months, and unfortunately the first round was during Christmas.
Chris' dad, Sean is a single father who gained full custody of Chris 6 years ago. Chris finished his last round of chemotherapy on May 24th and both he and his Dad are super excited to get back in the water again, and Chris can’t wait to get back to work at the Pet House and to start fishing again.
Normally, the organization would host a paddle board relay to raise awareness for their cause, and to provide self confidence for children with illnesses by introducing them to ocean activities.
But this year, the Keiki Paddle had to get creative because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so they created a challenge for people to participate in. It's called the Keiki Plunge Video Challenge. Participants film themselves jumping safely into a body of water and also sending a positive message to Chris.
That's not all the Keiki Paddle is doing for Chris, they have also launched a fundraising competition to financially support Chris and his father. When people raise money, they win prizes.