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Disabled woman postpones trip by rowboat to Hawaii from California


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While Angela Madsen’s history of overcoming adversity suggests there’s nothing that can stop her, she can apparently be delayed.

Madsen, who is attempting to become the first paraplegic woman to row across the Pacific, was scheduled to leave Santa Cruz Harbor on Saturday but unsafe weather conditions prompted her to postpone her departure until early today.

Hundreds of supporters turned out at the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor to see Madsen set out on her 2,300-mile journey, which is expected to take nearly three months to complete. Instead, Madsen circled the harbor in her boat (which is decorated with photos of military veterans, and accepted a proclamation from Santa Cruz Mayor Hilary Bryant.

According to a biography on her RowForLife.com website, Madsen lost the use of her legs in 1993 as a result of a botched surgery to repair injuries Madsen had sustained while serving in the military.

Undaunted, Madsen took up adaptive rowing and eventually became a five-time world champion in the sport.

Madsen has also used her rowing prowess to bring attention to the plight of combat veterans struggling to access promised benefits. Her planned journey from Santa Cruz to Hawaii is the latest in a string of open-ocean adventures that includes crossings of the Atlantic and Indian oceans and row around Great Britain.

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