Kayaking for Cancer local paddlers
Kayaking for Cancer paddlers left Kingston enroute to Ottawa for an eight-day journey through the Rideau River System. Representing Chesterville and the area were from left, Sharon Eyrdeli, Fred Bortolussi, Lisa Bortolussi, Maureen Corrick, Pat Moore, Brad Haynes and Kevin Moore. Moore photo

MERRICKVILLE—The 2019 Kayaking for Cancer departed from Kingston on Sat., Aug. 10 bound for Ottawa eight days later. This is the 19th year for the event featuring 39 kayakers this year. Over the past 18 years, the crew has covered over 3,600 km of paddling and they have raised $710,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society. 

The paddlers have a great time on and off the water but it goes beyond that according to organizer, Kevin Dionne from Kemptville. During their stop in Merrickville on Wed., Aug. 14, Dionne detailed all of the behind the scenes work and help that goes into this event, including that the truck used to transport was donated by Surgeoner; the boat they use is donated by Pirate Cove Marina in Kemptville; Park Canada lets the group use the canal locks free of charge; volunteers like the “Ladies of the Rideau” set up, cook and tear down the set-ups getting ready for the next stop, the driver of the truck, the use of the lands in which they camp, restaurants that donate food, supermarkets for food and supplies.

Dionne asked the crowd to raise their hands if they knew someone who is fighting the battle or fought the battle and lost and then he asked them to turn around and look at all the hands. Everyone there had their hand up. 

He went on to say that some cancers are being defeated, some are being managed and some people lose but compared to years ago there are more people living longer and some beat the disease but he said more work needs to be done to make cancer a thing of the past.

The trip is 202 km long from the start in Kingston to the end at the Ottawa River in Ottawa. The first stop on day one is at Lower Brewers Lock, the second is Jones Fall, third Narrows Lock, fourth Rideau Ferry, fifth Merrickville, sixth Pirate Cove Marina, seventh Long Island Locks and ends beside the Chatêau Laurier Hotel in Ottawa on the eighth day.

Representing Chesterville and area this year were Lisa Bortolussi, Sharon Eyrdeli, Kevin Moore and Brad Haynes (from Russell) and Maureen Corrick kayaking, and Fred Bortolussi helping out with the ground crew.

The group is looking forward to next year, the 20th anniversary, where there will be special events and get togethers. It is not too late to donate. Donations can be made by visiting their webpage at www.kayakingforcancer.com.