Eight local paddlers will spend 24 hours on Kootenay Lake on April 13 to raise money for families living with cancer. The team includes Maureen and James Splinter, Kirsty Holt, Reta Boychuck, Dianna Ducs, Elaine Balestra, Jodee Meyers and Andras Lukacs. Photo submitted

24-hour paddle aims to help families wrestling with cancer

Eight people will paddle Kootenay Lake on April 13

Andras Lukacs is willing to spend 24 hours on Kootenay Lake if it eases the daily struggles endured by families living with cancer.

He’s part of an eight-person team that will paddle the lake near Harrop on April 13. The team is raising money as part of the Monster and Sea initiative that challengers paddlers to spend a day on the water.

Lukacs first participated in the event three years ago in Kelowna before relocating to the Kootenays.

“I always wanted to bring this event here,” he said. “This is the first year we’re going to do it on Kootenay Lake.”

Monster and Sea was started in 2015 by Seattle’s Troy Nebeker, who modeled the fundraiser to emulate the 24-hour struggle those with cancer live with. Last year teams in 26 cities across North America raised over $156,000.

This year, more than 30 teams across Canada, the United States and Cayman Islands will participate in the event.

Lukacs said the entire team will paddle for an hour at 8 a.m., then go out in pairs an hour at a time. Everyone will again paddle together at midnight, resume shifts throughout the night and gather together on the lake for the final hour.

“We try to invite our friends to come, so what we’re hoping is to get a whole bunch of paddlers or people with their sailboats to come out on the lake and enjoy being part of community.”

The team’s Gofundme campaign has already raised over $5,000. Once the final total is known, the team plans to split it up by $1,000 for families in need located in the Nelson area, Rossland and Nakusp.

How the money is used is up to the families, who Lukacs said the group will also decide on.

“Unfortunately there are too many people who could use the money. It’s never an issue of finding [families].”

Lukacs has his own reason for paddling out into the lake in the wee hours of the morning. His mother-in-law passed away this year from cancer, and his wife’s sister also once survived a cancer diagnosis.

But instead of measuring the event by the amount it raises or by the stamina required, Lukacs said he just hopes it encourages a community to gather for a good cause.

“It’s not about how far we’re going to paddle, maybe measure it, maybe we don’t, we don’t care. It’s just get together and enjoy the community and do something together.”



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

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