Kayak 4 a Cure
On the 19th of December 2012, three inspirational teenagers from NSW’s mid-north coast embarked on a 2,200km journey from the Hume Weir to the Murray Mouth to raise vital funds for cancer research.
Brothers Will and Jo, and their friend Callum gave up their entire Christmas school holidays as they camped and kayaked along the world’s third longest navigable river – the Murray River.
By engaging their community, local school and family networks, the three boys had a wonderfully successful start to the campaign, exceeding their initial fundraising target of $10,000 before they’d even departed on their epic journey! Now at the end of the adventure, they’ve surpassed $16,000!
“Just a fabulous effort by you all,” said ACRF CEO, David Brettell.
“We at the ACRF are so touched and inspired, thank you, an amazing effort, we’re very proud of you.”
Their goals for the trip were twofold; to raise much needed funds for the ACRF as well as to spread a positive message about teenagers living life to the fullest. We think it’s certainly safe to say they have more than succeeded on both fronts.
The boys had been preparing and training for this charity fundraising adventure since mid 2012, working hard to balance school work (including the HSC, for Jo), fitness training and fundraising events.
But it all paid off when they completed their grueling journey, reaching the mouth of the Murray on Australia Day.
“The knowledge that this was most probably the last day of our journey set an excited fire to our strong strokes through the silent water,” Jo wrote, about their last day of paddling.
“The soft splashes of our paddles in the water no longer sounded monotonous but carried an encouraging and climatic feeling to our hearts, like the sight of one’s hometown after a long journey.
“We rounded our last corner to see Dad, Bella, David and Leonie waiting on the beach to our right and white wash waves crashing into the mouth of the mighty Murray River to our left.
“We paddled into the sand and dismounted our vessels. Forty days and over 2200 kilometres of paddling a kayak had finally come to an end. OH MY GOODNESS!! We were so glad to have finished but we had so many new stories and experiences that we had gathered from our travels.”
Throughout their journey, the boys endured many 4:30am wake ups, scorching temperatures, thick mud lined river banks and wild animals.
They also met many interesting and incredibly generous characters along the way. Their travels have been wonderfully re-told via the Kayak4aCure online blog, which you can read here.
This is the second cancer fundraising adventure that Will Ashley has had a key role in organising. In 2011, together with his friend Kale, he cycled from Coffs Harbour to Sydney and raised over $10,000.
In a newspaper interview, Will said: “We’re not really any special kids at all, we’re just getting out there trying to do our part. With continued research, it’s possible that our generation will know a cancer-free world.”
We are so very grateful to Will, and to Jo and Callum. They are an inspiration to all people, young and old.
We would also like to thank their extremely supportive family and friends as well as the greater Coffs Harbour community for helping them smash their fundraising target for a second year in a row. The donations received go straight to world-class cancer research into all types of cancer.
We look forward to seeing what the future holds for such incredible, motivated young men.