The Cowichan Valley’s Lori Elliott will be heading to Maui on Oct. 2 to do her part to fight cancer.
Elliott, who is a member of Cowichan Tribes, will be participating in the Paddle for Life 2018 fundraiser.
On Oct. 6, more than 500 cancer survivors and supporters from around the world will paddle six-person outrigger canoes across the ‘Au’au channel from Lahaina to Lana’i, a 34-mile round trip, to raise funds for Maui’s cancer community.
Elliott, who works with Cowichan Tribes as an administrator, is a long-time paddler who has a friend, Laurie McCaully, that runs a paddling company in Neah Bay, Washington.
She said McCaully has a daughter, Gina, who is a cancer survivor and she was invited to form a team, which is called the Ocean Thunder Canoe Club, to participate in Paddle for Life 2018.
“My brother is also a cancer survivor so I agreed to be part of the team,” Elliott said.
“We all have a loved one, a friend or know a survivor, or someone who is battling or lost someone, so when I was invited to be part of the event, I immediately said ‘yes’. I’ve raced in war canoes before, but this is my first time in an outrigger, so I’m hoping to spend a couple of days practising with the team in Maui before the event.”
Elliott explained that Paddle for Life is not a race, but a communal and non-competitive event to help fight cancer, as well as experiencing the Hawaiian culture through paddle, ceremony, chants and a barbecue and a night on the beach at Manele Bay on Lana’i.
The website for the event added that there is a parallel between an ocean paddling voyage and the journey experienced by cancer patients and survivors.
“Both involve tremendous physical, mental and emotional strength, both require patience and perseverance and, ultimately, it takes a team to make the journey successful,” according to the website.
Elliott said she was mandated to raise at least $250 for the cause to participate in the event, but she and her supporters have raised approximately $1,000 so far through a raffle.
“If you’re interested in supporting the cause, go to the ‘Paddleforlife2018’ webpage to contribute to the event, or you can click on to donate to team paddler, participant search Lori Elliott and click to donate to Lori. All funds go to Paddle for Life,” she said.
“I’ve been to Hawaii before for all-native basketball tournaments, but this is my first time participating in Paddle for Life,” she said.
“I’m really looking forward to it and hope to be invited back to participate again in future years.”