A Brother and Sister Team Rows for Veterans

Shannon Casey (L) and Matt Casey (R) more than 7 hours into their rowing marathon on a sidewalk in downtown Tampa.

Shannon Casey (L) and Matt Casey (R) more than 7 hours into their rowing marathon on a sidewalk in downtown Tampa.

This morning on a sidewalk in downtown Tampa, a brother and sister team were 21 hours into a rowing marathon.

They were working to set a 26-hour and 12-minute rowing record and raise money for Quantum Leap Farm which offers equine therapy to wounded veterans and military families.

Their attempt , however, was stopped short by their father.

Tom Casey called off the rowing event at 8 this morning – 21 hours after it started. He told WUSF 89.7 News that his children would have kept going, but he was concerned about their health.

“They were exhausted,” Tom Casey said. Dad is no stranger to athletic challenges. For 12 years, he swam in a relay across Long Island Sound. So, he understands the perils of pushing beyond a breaking point.

Shannon and Matthew Casey started their fund-raising event Wednesday (May 15,2013) at 11 a.m. Each hour they traded-off sitting at an “erg” rowing machine – pushing with their legs and pulling with their arms and shoulders as the seat slid back and then were pulled forward.

Fueled by water, protein bars, bananas, peaches, trail mix and watermelon. They hoped to row until 1:12 p.m. Thursday, May 16, 2013.

Matt Casey (L) and his dad, Tom Casey (R), on the first day of the rowing marathon.

Matt Casey (L) and his dad, Tom Casey (R), on the first day of the rowing marathon.

At 6:30 a.m. Thursday, their father, Tom Casey, reported that the duo made it through the night. Their pace slowed but they kept rowing. However by 9 a.m., they were packed up. No trace of the rowing machine, tables, coolers, chairs and canopy could be found on the concrete sidewalk.

Their goal was to raise $5000 for Quantum Leap Farm. There’s no word on how close they got to that financial goal.

Shannon has volunteered at Quantum Leap Farm since a sophomore at Berkeley Prep High School. She’s now a junior at the University of South Florida. On Wednesday, she couldn’t conceive of not reaching their goal.

“It’s such a wonderful organization (Quantum Leap Farm),” Shannon said. “I wouldn’t want to let them down at all.”

Her brother Matt, who just graduated from USF’s College of Business, said he wanted to do something to help veterans after meeting several WWII vets when he started a stock club at a local retirement community.

“What Quantum does is, yes people have a lot of injuries but, they get them back on their feet and provide them the therapy in order to live their lives like the veterans at the stock market club,” Matt said.

Tom Casey said late Thursday morning that both rowers had gotten a shower and sleeping. He stayed with them all night on the downtown city street. So,  he planned to take a nap too.

Matt Casey during hour 8 of a 21 hour rowing marathon with his sister.

Matt Casey during hour 8 of a 21 hour rowing marathon with his sister.

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