Naiades Oncology Rowing
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Mission Statement

The Naiades Oncology Rowing program is committed to serving the physical and emotional needs of cancer survivors. Through our shared rowing experience, we find a means to maintain wellness for our bodies, and courage and determination for our spirit. We find healing on the water through the power of our commitment, and we hope to provide inspiration to all of those who face the challenges of cancer.

Who We Support

We currently support survivors who have faced cancer, or are currently in treatment. We provide physical conditioning, rehabilitation, education, and camaraderie.

Our mission is frustrated whenever fees present a barrier for those most in need of experiencing the best that Naiades has to offer. For this reason, the Board of Directors has established the Row It Forward Financial Support Scholarship Program, supported by a dedicated fund and on-going donations, for those who need financial assistance to participate in Naiades programs. An application is available here if you wish to apply for a scholarship.


  • Our Name
    • Naiades is pronounced nigh-a-deez or nez-a-deez. Singular would be nigh' ad. The Naiades were mythological water  nymphs or Greek goddesses who presided over waters that were said to have healing powers.  The naiad was intimately connected to its body of water, and its very existence seems to have depended on it. The waters over which Naiades presided were thought to be endowed with inspirational, medicinal, or prophetic powers.
  • Our Symbols
    • The Purple Ribbon…represents cancer of all types and patients / survivors of both genders.
    • The Oar…represents the water sport that will unite survivors, patients, and supporters. It is the symbol of strength and unity.
  • Our passion for rowing
    • Stems from the inherent challenges and benefits of the sport.
      • Physically
      • Mentally
      • Socially, with team affiliation
      • Practically, stretching our own will to succeed
  • Our membership
    • Is comprised of cancer survivors, the majority of whom had never rowed before. Many started after diagnosis or treatment.
    • Is guided by camaraderie, driven to focus on something challenging, and thrives on supporting each other.
    • Is expanding to include men now and youth in the future, when a solid foundation has been established.

2017-2018 Board of Directors

Desireé Bethmann

Desi has been a strong and loyal supporter of Naiades since the program’s birth at Camp Good Days. She works at the Rochester Psychiatric Center, and has spent over 20 years in a variety of administrative positions. Desi has been on 2 boards and has supported many local organizations, including the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester, the Indian Manpower Program for Native Americans, the Native American Cultural Center, American Indians’ of all Nations, the Ganondagon Festival and the Pickering Treaty in Canandaigua.  Desi is the Director of the Honeoye Falls, Mendon, and Lima Women’s Softball League.

Debbie Cole

Debbie joined the Naiades Board in 2010 as Treasurer. Debbie’s expertise is in the accounting field. She retired from Nixon Peabody. Debbie is a rower and survivor. Debbie also serves on the Marketing / Fundraising Committee.

Jodi Cullen

Jodi Cullen is a New York State Licensed Massage Therapist. Jodi is actively involved in Rochester’s oncology support community. She passionately supports the efforts of the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester, SIS (financial assistance for those battling breast cancer), and Gilda’s Club of Rochester. Jodi proudly sponsors the Naiades Oncology Rowing Team.

Thomas Kidera

Nicole Marro

Nicole is an attorney with Bond, Schoeneck & King, whose practice focuses on estate planning, including the preparation of wills, revocable and irrevocable trusts, charitable trusts. In addition, she represents individuals and corporate fiduciaries with respect to the administration of trusts, probate estates and guardianships. She is passionate about sports and is very active in the community…serving organizations like Heritage Christian Services Foundation, United Way Professional Advisory Board, and the Rochester Community Foundation Professional Advisors Liaison Committee.

Umbereen Mustafa

Umbereen joined the Board in 2010 and is Chair of the Marketing / Fundraising Committee. She is a marketing professional with over 20 years of experience in consumer and business-to-business marketing. Umbereen is a passionate supporter of Naiades and its mission given the numerous people in her life that have been touched by cancer.

Kevin Peartree

Kevin is an attorney and partner with Ernstrom & Dreste, LLP. He and his wife Chris are the parents of two daughters. His connection to rowing began with his daughters’ participation in Mercy Crew while attending Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women. During his seven years of involvement with Mercy Crew, Kevin served as counsel for Mercy Crew, Inc., the parent-run governing body for the rowing program, was a member of the Board of Directors for three years and president from 2012-2013.

Esther Tanzman