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

The 21st annual Japanese Cultural Fair streams online Oct. 24 from noon to 3 p.m. (Facebook/Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society)
Esquimalt’s Japanese Cultural Fair takes tastes, experiences and cultures online

21st annual free event streams Saturday, Oct. 24 starting at noon

Const. Graham Walker of the Saanich Traffic Safety Unit recreates an incident involving a driver who police say attempted to film the scene of a crash while driving up Highway 17. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Police track down driver caught filming accident scene on Pat Bay Highway

Driver issued $368 ticket, points on their licence

Sooke man Rik Downer spent two weeks in the Royal Jubilee Hospital after contracting flesh-eating bacteria. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Sooke man’s bumped knee leads to fight for life

Man unknowingly contracts case of rare flesh-eating disease

Victoria High School. (Black Press Media file photo)
Alumni Association abandons plans for eight-lane track at Vic High

SD61 spokesperson says easement, which makes 8-lane track impossible, left out of consultation

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
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

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

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

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

Most Read