Igor's cancer support

$17,087raised of $20,000 goal

Organizer: Igor's Athletes Beneficiary: Igor Grinko

This fundraiser is closed

Dear Friends in the Rowing World:

Igor Grinko, friend to many, mentor, role model and world renowned sculling coach, needs your help!

Igor and his wife Kira have both been battling cancer these past two years. This has taken a heavy toll on them physically, emotionally, and financially.  Sadly, after a period of remission, Igor’s cancer recently returned and he is currently hospitalized in Augusta, where he and Kira have lived for many years. Needless to say, they have been through a great deal and many challenges and choices lie ahead.

Over the years, Igor and Kira have touched so many lives with their all-encompassing hospitality and unwavering kindness, and now is a time when some of this can be reciprocated.  Igor and Kira are seeking to use every available option to fight Igor’s cancer, and though they would never ask for your help themselves, we know your help with their financial responsibilities will be invaluable.

To know Igor is to love him.  Those of us who have been trained by Igor know how he could push us to greater heights of achievement.  Everyone has an Igor story - the Occoquan “TR” machine building project, "throw" weights, the Augusta dungeonesque lifting center, dragging refrigerators up hills. 110 rep-lifting, erging in snow covered parking lots, rowing on mountain lakes that turn out to be two thousand feet higher in elevation than planned, the term "same-time-u-laneously", climbing Pikes Peak on your “day off” and a favorite "you good result” and the oft heard, “could be better,” uttered right after you have won an important race!

Igor has developed rowers the world over to the highest Olympic standards, through his methods, drive, and high expectations. Off of the water, many of Igor's lessons of determination are apparent in his athletes’ successful efforts in post-rowing endeavors. Once you have made it through Igor’s training regimen you know you can do anything! 

The athletes of Igor’s 1996 Olympic Silver Medal winning men’s quad have joined with other athletes in setting up this donation site to which you can send your contribution to help Igor and Kira with their numerous expenses during this challenging time, along with your thoughts and well-wishes.  These funds will directly assist in the difficult choices of care and comfort Kira and Igor must make in the near term.  Your contribution, while not tax-deductible, will be of immense help and comfort to them.  

On behalf of Igor and Kira, we thank you for your generous support.



by Igor's Athletes

Message from GEORGE FRY:


I wanted to make as many of Igor Grinko’s former rowers and friends aware of events we have planned in November to honor Igor and his contributions to the world of rowing, to the Augusta Rowing Club, and to the lives of many he touched.  Some of the details are still being locked down, but most I’ll spelled out below.  I have spoken to Jason Gailes this week and, I believe he has been contacted by Glenn Merry, CEO of US Rowing (who is also coming into Augusta for the weekend).  Right now we are trying to spread the word.  We are hosting back-to-back regattas --- the Head of the South (HOTS) Regatta on Saturday – Nov. 8th and the US Rowing Masters Head Race National Championship (a 3-year old event) will take place on Sunday – Nov. 9th.  We would love to see former elite rowers (current ‘masters’ rowers) come to Augusta to compete …. But just having some of you here would mean a lot – particularly to Kira Grinko and Igor’s family.


(I want to acknowledge that several have gone far above and beyond what could be expected to visit Igor while he fought cancer for 2 years. And the number that made the trip into Augusta for his funeral and memorial celebration was amazing. But, I want to do my best to share the info. I also know that there are real-world demands on your time and families [i.e. a brand new baby].  Again, I just want to get the word out. If you have any questions, please give me a call or send an email.)


We are very pleased that the plans are coming together for a Celebration of Igor's life during the Head of the South (HOTS) Regatta on Nov. 8th and US Rowing's Masters National Head Race Championship Regatta on Nov. 9th. The Saturday regatta will start at 8:15AM and conclude at about 5:00PM. We will have a VIP Reception from 6:15PM to 7:00PM and will have a Banquet from 7:00PM till 9:00PM. Donna Jannik is planning a great meal with a local culinary college. We will have the details on our website and on Regatta Central's website in a few days. 


We are hoping that Igor's friend Juri Janseen and others from Estonia - and Germany - and friends from around the world will join us for the celebration. We have planned time on the schedule to have a boat dedication as we understand Rainer Empacher would like to christen a boat in Igor's name. 


I will provide links below for 3 website that will be used to promote the events for the weekend and allow rowers to register for the 2 regattas.


It is hard to believe that the Augusta Rowing Club will be marking 30 years since the reestablishment of the club in 1984. Igor was a part of the club's history for 20 years!



www.augustarowingclub.org --- General Information and a picture of Igor


https://www.regattacentral.com/regatta/index.jsp?job_id=3728  --- Head of the South Regatta Registration


https://www.regattacentral.com/regatta/index.jsp?job_id=3685 --- US Rowing Masters National Head Race Championship Regatta Registration


If we need to provide formal invitations to selected friends, please get us the information and we will follow up with those letters. Thanks …..


George J. Fry, Jr.

Augusta Rowing Club

Board Member - Augusta Sports Council


   Cell: 706-627-1412

   Home: 706-733-9776

   Email: GFryJr@comcast.net


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by Igor's Athletes
By now you have probably heard the sad news that Igor passed away peacefully last week, in the early morning hours of March 18.  His funeral was held this past Saturday.  We will also hold a memorial for Igor later this year, the details are still being worked out but will be posted here and on the "Igor's Community"  facebook page: facebook.com/coachigorgrinko .  Please feel free to post your thoughts about Igor on that page.  And again, thank you all for your very generous donations to Igor and Kira; you made a big difference in the cost of their care and you sent Igor a very strong message of support.

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by Igor's Athletes
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you who sent your love and well wishes to Igor and Kira.  Your donations have been safely deposited into their bank account and their card with all of your names and messages is on its way to them (See photo on the site).  Igor was released from the hospital, but has had to make several return visits for pain control and some ongoing drainage.  He is still walking as much as he can.  Will continue to keep you all posted.  Enjoy your holidays and good health!
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by Igor's Athletes
Thanks to all you wonderful people in the Rowing community, we have reached our fundraising goal!  Hurray!!! Every one of your donations counts and will help make their ordeal a little less intolerable. Even after the fundraiser closes, we will keep this site open so that you and others can continue to cheer Igor on by writing your thoughts and wishes for him.

Just spoke to Kira.  Igor was pretty sick yesterday - the chemo hits hardest a few days later.  But now he is up and walking around the hospital, eating a little more.  Still having pain and looking thin.  But also still teasing his fellow inpatients and the hospital staff!  They are getting to experience that unique combination of exasperation and affection he has engendered in all of us at one point or another.  He genuinely wants everyone to do well and succeed, and is always forgiving no matter how much grief we have put him through!   
I let Kira know again that there were a great many people who were concerned about Igor and her, and wished them well, and who wanted to make a contribution toward their cancer treatment and support costs. She was very moved by this.  We will be depositing your donations directly into their account in the next day or two, so please keep it secret from them for a couple more days!  We'll keep you posted on this.

Again, we are very grateful to you all for joining us in sending Igor and Kira our love, prayers and financial contributions!
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by Igor's Athletes
Igor started chemotherapy today.  He remains in the hospital, in not great shape.  Not surprisingly, Kira is very concerned and upset.  She has already gone through so much with her own health, it is amazing how strong and supportive she is being for Igor.  

Of course, you all know Igor, he still has a twinkle in his eye and is still making everyone laugh, and still has a strong determination to get better.  

Thank you all for your kind words and wishes and generous donations.  All the money raised will go directly to Igor and Kira.  There is a team of us working together to run this site and do the accounting, and we will be presenting Igor and Kira with a check and with your sentiments in the next few days - but please don't tell them yet! 
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by Igor's Athletes
We are thrilled at the response we've had so far to this fundraiser!  The rowing community is truly amazing.  Clearly, Igor has touched our lives in such meaningful ways.  Your generous donations will go a long way toward helping Igor and Kira.  As of today 11/22, Igor remains in the hospital, still with some pain and weakness but staying optimistic.  Jason Gailes paid him a visit which really cheered Igor up.  His oncologist wants to start another round of chemotherapy as soon as he is strong enough.
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