ONTARIO, Canada - Five years later, twenty-one-year-old Madeline Leblanc has continued to turn her passion of stand up paddle boarding into a fundraiser to honor two friends lost to cancer. Madeline bought her first board and started paddling in 2012, after she fell in love with the sport at age ten. In 2011 Julia Turner passed away at fifteen due to a brain tumor, and earlier that same year Lynn Lambert passed at thirty-seven. They were two wonderful people that deserve to be remembered because of their legacies they left on the City of Welland. They were always giving back to others in the community and putting others needs before theirs. They both taught all of Welland to treasure every moment of your life, and dedicate yourself to helping others when you can.
As a result of the young girls passing’s Madeline created ‘On Board’ where she paddled 10km on July 10th, 2014 down the Welland Canal in a little over two hours to raise funds for brain cancer research. Madeline raised a grand total of $4,013.05 her first year hosting On Board to hand into the Canadian Cancer Society. Creating On Board was her way of saying goodbye to Julia and Lynn, and also her way of giving back to the cancer community. The impact this event has left on Madeline has driven her to run this event again for a fifth year in a row and raising over $23,000 to date.
With the success of last year’s event, which took place on July 2nd for the fourth time, Madeline has planned to paddle again this year. This year Madeline will continue to honor Dalton Jacques and McKenna Modler at the event. Dalton Jacques was another young member of the Welland community who passed away too soon due to cancer in March of 2016. McKenna Modler is a seventeen-year-old girl from Gananoque, Ontario who still continues to fight brain cancer through her own fundraiser called ‘McKenna’s Dream’.
On Sunday July 15th, 2018 Madeline will be paddling 5km’s down the Welland Canal while encouraging others to join her. At 10am the paddling journey will start at the Pen Financial Credit Union Flatwater Centre, 108 Thorold Rd East. From there paddlers will paddle to the Lincoln Street Bridge, then turnaround and head back to the Pen Financial Credit Union Flatwater Centre.
At the starting point one of On Board’s sponsors Ausmosis Board Works will be hosting a free SUP demo day if people would like to try paddle boarding. At 2pm the Ontario SUP Series will be hosting SUP races as well. Those who would like to race can sign up on the Ontario SUP Series website. Throughout the day Lululemon Niagara will also be hosting yoga on the shoreline for those who would like to relax and stretch. There will be a free BBQ as well sponsored by Mr. Mikes Welland, along with extra On Board t-shirts that will be on sale for $20. Last year over 200 people came out, which included over 50 paddlers on the water, and Madeline would love to see even more this year!
Photo via Madeline LeBlanc.
Madeline encourages anyone from beginner to expert paddling experience to join her on the canal to remember Lynn, Julia, Dalton Jacques and McKenna Modler. Those who are interested in paddling must contact Madeline through email at [email protected] or Facebook. There is no registration fee or age limit, however Madeline would like those who want to paddle to wear a 2018 On Board shirt which can be ordered in advanced by contacting her. Paddlers will meet at 9:00am where they are encouraged to first register, then bring a kayak, canoe, or SUP board as well as a personal flotation device such as a lifejacket. To pre-register online, follow the link here.
There will also be limited boards available to rent provided by Fearless Females and Starboard SUP North America. At 10am the paddle will start and will take approximately 1-2 hours. Afterwards participates are welcomed to grab lunch, take photos, swim, race and socialize. This event is a great way to get some exercise while trying something new! At the end of the day, participants are welcomed to come back to Mr. Mikes Steakhouse Casual for dinner and entertainment provided by The Hot Tamales and Revive the Rose.
Photo via Madeline LeBlanc.
Those who do not want to paddle are welcomed to come to the canal to watch and enjoy a fun summer day! To donate you may directly donate by cash or check to Madeline (checks can be made out to the ‘Canadian Cancer Society’) or to donate online please follow the link here. This is a safe secure website where the money goes straight to the Canadian Cancer Society. There will also be a huge donation jar on display on the 15th for cash donations. Returning sponsors are Ausmosis Board Works, Impact Promotions Niagara, Miss Dars School of Dance, Surf the Greats, Paddle Niagara, Wappa Paddleboards, WhaSUP, Surf Ontario, Vesuvius Canada, Jake’s Landscaping, and Serianni Construction. New sponsors include Starboard SUP, Snareguy Records, Precision Roofing, Timberline Landscape Contractors, Jimmy Lewis Canada, Infinity SUP Canada and Mr. Mikes Steakhouse Casual Welland. The fundraising goal for this year is $10,000, so come on out on Sunday July 15th to honour four wonderful people by paddling and having fun! GET ON BOARD!!
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