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Welcome back to our sixteenth
consecutive year of Kayaking for Cancer!
Dear Kayakers, ground crew and anyone who is affected by this disease,
When I began to write this letter I wasn't sure where to start or how my input would be able to help or inspire others. So I decided I would tell you how I got involved with this crazy bunch in the first place.
I was first introduced to the kayakers back in 2007. Friends of mine insisted I join them at the Goose in Merrickville to celebrate their long journey with some delicious beverages. From that night on I knew the kayaking trip was an adventure I didn't want to miss out on.
I got in the water for the first time in 2009 excited for the food, the drinks and the great company on and off the water. When thinking back on it know, as I lay in my tent, I had no idea that week would have so much more meaning and importance than I had expected.
From Kevin's inspiring speeches, the ground crews relentless work ethic and the amazing stories being told on the water. Stories of friends and family fighting, losing and beating this horrible disease. I realized this trip meant a lot more than cold drinks and hot food(although those things are great).
On the last day of the trip Kevin gave a speech, he emphasized that it was a special day, you should take time to reflect and really appreciate your time on the water. That advice could not have been more true, as paddling into Ottawa for the first time holds a very special place in my heart.
It would be the first and last time my father Jim would see me paddling to the finish line and one of the last times I spent with him before he passed in a car accident later that week. Not only do I appreciate the memory of that great day but the love and support my new friends gave me and my family during that time. It was truly uplifting that the people I had only known for a week went out of their way to show my family love and support.
That is a true testament to what this trip is all about. "Family and friends making a difference".
So, to all of you who have suffered because of this disease or any other tragedy. Take the time to appreciate the good stories, the drinks, the food and especially the friendships. I promise you they will get you through anything this beast can throw at you.
Thanks to all of you for your friendship and all the hard work!!
See you at the goose!
Darren Vander Meer
Ps if any teachers want to proof read this for grammar and spelling that would be great.