The FIN-Demics paddled the waters off Willows Beach to raise funds for Island Kids Cancer Association (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

Paddle for Health goes with ‘bubble’ approach to raise funds for Island families battling childhood cancer

The annual fundraiser shifts due to the COVID-19 pandemic

“Bubbles” of friends and family are finding innovative ways to partake in the annual Paddle for Health fundraiser this year to ensure children with cancer continue to receive support despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event, which has been running since 2014, usually draws a group of about 100 paddlers to Willows Beach where friends and family cheer them on and connect with fellow community members who have also been affected by childhood cancer.

For the past few years, the fundraiser has raised close to $25,000, with all the donations going to Island Kids Cancer Association.

Despite gathering limitations on this year’s event, Island Kids Cancer Association founder and executive director, Susan Kerr, and Paddle for Health event founder, Don Lowther, said they have decided to stick with their fundraising goal of $25,000.

Instead of one big event though, they are relying on individual groups, or “bubbles” to register and raise funds in creative ways. As incentive, there is a “Best Team Costume Award”.

Mock rock band, the FIN-Demics, – normally known as the Willows Beach Paddlers – is one of four groups that have registered for the event so far and are the first to have taken to the water.

Saturday morning (Sept.19), the three-person “band” donned their rock and roll outfits, mounted their paddle boards and glided around the Willows Beach waters, delighting early-morning dog walkers.

Lowther said he hopes a combination of these fun displays and spreading awareness on social media helps them to raise their goal. He was motivated to start the annual event after his mother passed away from cancer in 2005.

For Kerr, whose son passed away from cancer in 2019, the event is just as much about bringing people together as it is about raising money. Usually, she said, the event is filled with handshakes, hugs, tears and laughter as people share their stories and connect.

“The impact that childhood cancer has on a family is immense and seeing the community come together for a cause that your family has been battling with is so heart warming,” she said.

As with many non-profits, Island Kids Cancer Association has experienced a difficult drop in donations since the start of the pandemic.

At the same time, Kerr said, the need for support for families facing childhood cancer has only gone up. Loss of household income and deteriorating mental health have compounded into very difficult situations for many families.

As of Sept.22, this year’s Paddle for Health fundraiser has raised $10,540 of its $25,000 goal. Fundraising teams are still welcome to register and anyone interested in making a donation can do so up until Sept.30.

More information on the event can be found on the Paddle for Health donation page.


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Cancer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Premier-elect John Horgan, during a visit in Sidney, broadly promised improvements to transit among other issues in the riding of Saanich North and the Islands, even after voters re-elected BC Green Adam Olsen as Member of the Legislative Assembly. (Black Press Media file photo)
Premier-elect John Horgan promises to work with all MLAs

Horgan says his government will pay attention to Saanich North and the Islands

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

A new roundabout has been completed at the intersection of Peatt Road, Brock Avenue and Larkhall Road in Langford. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
New roundabout along Peatt Road completed in Langford

Allows for better turning movements for Langford’s fire trucks, improved safety

The British Columbia flag flies at dusk in front of the B.C. legislature on election day 2020. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
NDP claims six out of seven Greater Victoria ridings after preliminary results

Mail-in ballots yet to be counted in provincial election

View Royal Coun. John Rogers stands next to an unearthed home heating oil tank. As a way to prevent environmental disasters, he is lobbying for a provincial registration system and mandatory inspection for all above-ground tanks, as well as a requirement to remove any underground tanks not used for a prescribed period of time. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Efforts to regulate Greater Victoria home heating oil tanks continues

View Royal councillor part of movement to identify old tanks, prevent catastrophic leaks

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read