Paddle for a Cause

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     Last Summer when a 29-year old friend of mine suffered from a Stroke many thoughts went through my head.  Why would someone so young have a stroke?  What caused it?  How will she recover?   Then another idea went into my head.  I thought it would be neat to start some sort of an organization that would raise money to help victims of Stroke.  I had also always wanted a pink canoe paddle so when the two ideas came together my Pink Paddle was created.  I thought Stroke for a Cure would be a good slogan and then I could sell Pink Paddles, but since Breast Cancer is associated with pink and so many of us know someone with Breast Cancer I decided to start out with Pink Paddles that will benefit the National Breast Cancer Research Foundation

     Mike Cichanowski, owner of Wenonah Canoe, helped out and before long I had a beautiful, bent shaft, graphite, Pink Paddle.  I created a logo with the help of a Maori symbol that I refer to as a blessing, "May your new beginning bring you strength, peace and tranquility and may your journeys over water always be safe."   My friend’s mother developed Breast Cancer just 5 months after my friend had her Stroke.  Both she and her mother are doing well and are experiencing their new beginning with strength and peace. 

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     The Pink Paddles took a safe journey over water with a third-year employee at Voyageur, Mike Boynar, and his friend Nate Ptacek.  They used the lightweight Pink Paddles on their last wilderness canoe trip into the BWCA.  They paddled from Saganaga Lake at the end of the Gunflint Trail all of the way to Fall Lake and Winton, Minnesota which is just next to Ely.  They paddled by the moonlight and made the trip there and back in 21 hours of total travel time.  This 80 plus mile trip even included the 4 mile portage into Fall Lake from Basswood. 

     The Pink Paddles will make an appearance at this weekend’s Dragon Boat Races in Grand Marais.  The Pink Paddles Team won’t be able to use the paddles in the races but will carry them in the parade, wear pink T-shirts, and we’ll be selling them in Boulder Park in Grand Marais at the Pink Paddle Tent.   When you purchase a Pink Paddle you will be making a difference in the lives of all people affected by Breast Cancer.  To learn more about the Pink Paddle or to purchase one visit