Paddlers take to Willows waters to fight childhood cancer

The Paddle for Health fundraiser comes to Willows Beach Saturday

Paddle for Health

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

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in Saanich parkland

The birds don’t often touch down in the south of the Island

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

(Victoria Cool Aid Society/Facebook)
Victoria food drive aims to feed those also struggling with housing

Quadra Village furniture store hosting drive-thru event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Victoria police are asking for witnesses who might have information about this tricycle that was stolen in downtown Victoria on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Police seek witnesses after downtown Victoria company’s tricycle stolen

The three-wheeler was taken from the 2100-block of Store Street on Thursday

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read