Kayaking to Find cures and save children.

It was a few years ago that I was diagnosed with Stage IV Lymphoma. Last year my father passed away from lung cancer. I’ve had friends, colleagues and family that battled and continue to battle this disease in one form or another. Its a horrible disease that at best takes up a good deal of your thoughts, your time and your strength and at worst takes far more.

During my treatment for cancer I would sit in the chemo room with young adults who were really no more than kids. 18 year olds dealing with treatment for leukemia and brain cancer. Seeing the heroics of these kids as they played with the lousy hand they were dealt made me realize just how blessed my life has been. I had been graced with a life full of experiences, friends and love.

Sitting in the chair as the poison was injected into my heart I could reflect back on all I had been given. It just didn’t seem fair that these kids should have to suffer through so much without being able to live their life. Its a horrible disease but its even more terrible when it effects children. I’d like to try to help in some way.

Next year I’m entered into a long distance kayak race from St Petersburg to Key Largo, Florida. Total distance is something between 280 and 300 miles. Let me remind you that this path goes directly through the Florida Everglades, home to Sting Rays, Alligator, Crocodiles, Pythons, too many poisonous snakes to count and a plethora of bugs.

I’m asking people to bet against me completing this race in the allotted time of 8 days. You pledge a certain dollar value for each mile I complete. I’ll match that dollar value* for each mile I dont complete. All funds will go to the St Jude Children’s Hospital.

If you weren’t a math major in college, let me give you an example: You put up $1.00/mile and I complete only 160 miles. You would owe St Jude’s $160 dollars and I would owe them $140.

Ok, Ok. I hear those of you who know me saying, “But wait Dan, this is fixed. You’re a trained professional. You’re a Maine Guide. You have a sticker on the back of your truck and everything.”

I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do. I’ll sweeten the deal and I’ll do the race with a two-by-four piece of lumber instead of a paddle. That should make it more interesting, right. How can you lose? Its a sure thing.

Ok, Ok. I hear some people saying, “But Dan, your a former military aviator trained to survive in swamps and the like” Ok, lets make it easier for the alligators and crocodiles. How about I dont use a normal boat. How about I use a boat made out of deck boards from a lumber store wrapped up in say a big T-shirt. I won't have to worry about alligators cause a sharp stick will go right through the boat. This is easy money.

What do you say? There's no way you can lose. Go ahead bet against me. Bet against cancer! No matter what happens we win!


*Up to a maximum of $10,000.

+So my wife is making me clarify that I carved the “Two-by-four” into a paddle and that the T-shirt is actually heavy weight polyester fabric. Its stilled just wrapped around deck boards though.

++She says I have to tell you that the deck boards are part of a skin on frame kayak. But I designed the kayak, so its still a pretty good bet that it sinks or something.