Foggy conditions for the Paddle for Health at Willows Beach. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

VIDEO: Oak Bay paddle raises funds for kids with cancer

Paddle for Health 2018 raised over $20,000 for Island Kids Cancer Association

A flotilla of fun took to the waters between Willows Beach and Cadboro Bay to raise funds for children with cancer and their families. This year, the annual Paddle for Health event raised over $20,000 for Island Kids Cancer Association.

“Everybody’s there for the same reason. We’re all there to raise some money for the Kids Cancer Association and have some fun,” says Don Lowther, organizer of the 11th annual Paddle For Health.

“We’ve got volunteers who’ve been doing it 11 years now… and paddlers who this will be their fifth or sixth time coming out.”

Cancer survivors of all ages, and those in different stages of the illness come out each year, usually about 100 of them.

“The very first year, 11 years ago, I think I had 20. That was in Brentwood Bay,” says Lowther, an avid paddler who started the event in honour of his mom who died from cancer. “It made sense, that’s what I did, it made sense to try and turn that into something positive for a bunch of people.”

He expects they’ll reach beyond the $200,000 mark this year.

“Which is kind of nice for a little group of paddlers,” he says.

Glen Lyon Norfolk School and Sea Kayaking supply all their kayaks and canoes at no charge and Power To Be Adventure Society brings a large voyageur canoe. Paddleboards are donated by different organizations.

“Lots of first-timers come out. Everybody works together, the fast boats get ahead but everybody stops and waits,” Lowther says.

Launching from Willows Beach, paddlers cruise from Cattle Point into Cadboro Bay to Gyro Beach with a stop for a leg stretch and snack break before paddling back to Willows Beach to a waiting barbecue lunch.

“We have experienced guides and we have the Royal Canadian Search and Rescue come out and shadow the group the whole time for that extra safety factor,” Lowther says.

Paddlers participate with a voluntary $50 donation upon sign up with additional pledge collection expected. For the third year, funds raised support Island Kids Cancer Association.

“I think most people want to see a difference made in their own neighbourhoods,” Lowther says.

RELATED: Paddle for Health funds new Island Kids Cancer Association

That’s the mandate says Susan Kerr, founder and program co-ordinator with the Island Kids Cancer Association.

“We provide practical support for children with cancer, and their families on Vancouver Island, through all stages of their cancer journey,” Kerr says.

It supports programs such as CARE 4 Kids (connection, assistance, resources and emergency), offering personal connection, support and resources through community programs.

“We provide practical support but as our board is made up of mostly families who have been there and community people who are integrated in this journey as well, we have a sense of practical support could mean emergency travel vouchers … or mental health and wellness,” Kerr says. “There are layers to it … what we provide that you don’t often see is the individual one-0on-one relationship you have with the families. Every family is unique and has individual needs.”

A recently developed community connection includes Victoria Conservatory of Music through music therapy programming.

“That’s a new partnership I’m super excited about, working with them, offering families and kids support on an individual basis,” she says. “Right now we’re looking at one-on-one support for kids.”

While many think of counsellors and psychologists, realistically there’s play therapy, art therapy and music therapy to appeal to a variety of ages and characters of children. “We want to delve into all of that.”

“Paddle for Health is an amazing magical day … filled with hope, full hearts and plenty of hugs,” Kerr says. “It truly symbolizes what it means to be part of a community.”

Visit paddleforhealth.ca.


 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Catherine MacKellar was the top individual fundraiser. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Foggy conditions for the Paddle for Health at Willows Beach. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Claire Costigan participates in her first Paddle for Health. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

The map for the Paddle for Health at Willows Beach. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Foggy conditions for the Paddle for Health at Willows Beach. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Foggy conditions for the Paddle for Health at Willows Beach. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Duck duck goose – Kasey Lee (left), Diane Dakers, Lisa King. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Willows Beach Paddlers: Elsie Johnson, Catherine MacKellar, Shelby Donald, Lynne Jordon, Steve Mark. The group raised more than $5000, making them the top fundraising team two years running. Catherine MacKellar was the top individual fundraiser. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Just Posted

Home care complaints up 45% on Vancouver Island

Number of home care hours delivered down 6%, complaints up 45 %

More than 115 people attend UVic blood drive

Canadian Blood Services says UVic is a target location to create lifetime donors

Driver convicted in death of Const. Sarah Beckett granted partial parole

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend an alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after fatal crash in Langford

Husband of slain RCMP officer ‘disgusted and disheartened’ by parole board

Killer of Const. Sarah Beckett allowed limited day parole for alcohol treatment

Toronto Arrows players take aim at youth rugby clinic

Juan de Fuca team offers get acquainted clinics

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

No cash, no election sign policy pondered by B.C. city

A deposit could be required to put up election signs in 2022.

China demands US drop Huawei extradition request with Canada

China detained two Canadians on Dec. 10 in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Meng

9 brains, 3 hearts: Some wild facts about octopuses

Things to know about the giant Pacific octopus, which is naturally found in the waters of the U.S. West coast, the Aleutian Islands and Japan

Hollywood announces 2019 Oscar nominations

Netflix has scored its first best picture nomination, something the streaming giant has dearly sought

Collapsed floor traps worker at decommissioned North Island pulp mill

Man frees self, escapes injury, investigation underway at Elk Falls facility in Campbell River

Auto shop apologizes after Vancouver Island employees disrespect memorial convoy

Mr. Lube staff members suspended after incident Sunday in Nanaimo

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

Most Read