Paddlers take to Willows waters to fight childhood cancer

The Paddle for Health fundraiser comes to Willows Beach Saturday

Paddle for Health

Don Lowther understands all too well the devastating effect cancer can have.

The local kayaker lost his mother to lung cancer in 2005. It was then that he decided to combine his passion for the water with a good cause to found Paddle for Health.

A disease that will have an effect on most Canadians throughout their lifetime, directly or indirectly, cancer is the leading cause of death in the country, according to Statistics Canada: almost 30 per cent of all deaths attributed to some form of cancer.

For eight years, Lowther and his team of volunteers and fundraisers have put paddle to water to help.

“I thought of it while I was out paddling. I wanted to do something that would raise awareness, while also allowing me to give back doing something I love,” says Lowther, an avid paddler who has been regularly on the water since 1996.

Driven by a team of dedicated volunteers headed by Lowther, the annual Paddle for Health opened in 2008 in Brentwood Bay, but Lowther moved it to Oak Bay five years ago for a more central location.

Participants meet at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10 at Willows Beach. Before heading out on the water, they’ll meet a parent of a childhood cancer patient – a lasting reminder of the event’s purpose.

“Usually we have the parent of a childhood cancer patient who does a little speech,” Lowther says.

At 9:30 a.m., paddlers will climb aboard their paddleboards, kayaks, canoes and outriggers to paddle from Willows Beach to Gyro Beach and back again. Upon their return, they’ll enjoy a barbecue lunch at Willows.

Although participation is by donation, Lowther asks participants to donate $50 per paddler. Families and big groups who wish to register together are asked to donate what they can. All proceeds go to raising awareness and enhancing the lives of children and their families experiencing childhood cancer.

Last year the event raised over $32,000, and Lowther aims to raise even more this year in support of Vancouver Island children and their families living with the challenges of childhood cancer.

“It’s all about families and friends getting together to paddle and enjoy a great, fun day on the water while contributing to a cause. It’s all about people helping people,” he says.

Last year, 90 people turned out to paddle in the event. Lowther is hoping to build on last year’s turnout, citing the century mark of 100 participants as one of the main goals of the event this year.

First-timers are more than welcome and watercrafts will be available for those who do not have their own.

Lowther also expresses his gratitude to the event’s sponsors. “It wouldn’t be what it is without them,” he says.

Since getting into paddling 20 years ago, Lowther has twice circumnavigated Vancouver Island.  “I really like it because you get to go to other places you wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach. I also really enjoy the peace and quiet, the serenity of being out on the water,” he says.

Those looking to register or donate to Paddle for Health can visit paddleforhealth.ca.

 

 

Just Posted

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

Flu season could last until May — Greater Victoria clinics offer flu shots

Vaccines are available through public health clinics, pharmacies and doctor’s offices

Remembering Nirvana in Victoria on Cobain’s 52 birthday

Nirvana played one show in Victoria on March 8, 1991 at the Forge

Watershed concerns prompt opposition to alternate Malahat routes

Motion submitted to Regional Water Supply Commission opposing highway in watershed

UPDATED: Langford homes evacuated after water main break

Break at the corner of Goldstream Avenue and Strathmore Road, several homes without water

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

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

Searchers return to avalanche-prone peak in Vancouver to look for snowshoer

North Shore Rescue, Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog teams and personnel will be on Mt. Seymour

Market volatility, mortgages loom over upcoming earnings of Canada’s big banks

Central bank interest hikes have padded the banks’ net interest margins

Hearings into SNC-Lavalin affair start today, but not with Wilson-Raybould

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Tilray to acquire hemp food company Manitoba Harvest for up to $419 million

Tilray will pay $150 million in cash and $127.5 million in stock.

Tears, flowers at impromptu memorial for Syrian children killed in Halifax fire

The family had only lived in the Quartz Drive home for a few months

NDP candidates push for stronger climate action as Singh supports LNG Canada

Singh has tried to project unity in the party while facing internal criticism for poor fundraising and low support in the polls

Most Read