Boating Covergirl and Cancer Survivor

Cancer survivor Annie McFarland stands as a an example of hope.

This month's cover model is also the subject of our "On Board With," and for good reason. Not only is Annie McFarland an avid boater and talented on-air host, but she is also a breast cancer survivor. This inspiring southwest Floridian mom shares her story with us.

What are some of your early boating experiences?
I grew up on Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota, doing lots of water skiing and boating. Every summer I'd have a bathing suit on under my clothes because at some point in the day you knew you were going to end up in the water.

Miss October: Annie M.
Miss October: Annie M.Garrett Cortese

What does boating look like for you now?
We don't have a boat at the moment, just a couple PWCs, but if Blackfin wanted to loan me the 332 CC, I'd gladly promote it… These days we love going out on boats with our friends in Naples and enjoying everything about being on the water.

What does it mean to you to be on the cover of Boating for an issue dedicated to breast cancer awareness?
It's a really cool honor. (Being a survivor) has been a huge part of my journey and how I became who I am today. I was diagnosed when I was 34 years old, so I was young, and it was six weeks after my kids' dad passed away, so it was a really, really difficult year. But I think that the experience of losing Cody and then having to fight breast cancer prompted me to fight even harder, because I couldn't leave my kids without any parents. But since I've been clean and clear of cancer, I have spent so much time trying to encourage, build up, and support awareness for it, as well as women in my community who are also struggling with it. Getting to do this for Boating is ridiculously humbling.

Any other thoughts or words?
Well, I have a funny boating-related story from my journey through cancer. I had to have a double mastectomy and then reconstruction. When they do reconstruction they also reconstruct your nipples, and when they do that part of the process involves tattooing them. As I was getting the tattoos done, the girl doing the art said to me, "Ok, now going forward, this means no more going out on the boat topless…" Then she stopped for a second and said, "Wait, you've already survived cancer, do whatever you want!"