Paddlers to hit the water for a cure

There are various runs and walks during the summer in Whitehorse to raise money for a plethora of needy causes. However, this month people are being asked to trade their running shoes for kayak paddles.

There are various runs and walks during the summer in Whitehorse to raise money for a plethora of needy causes. However, this month people are being asked to trade their running shoes for kayak paddles.

On June 13, Whitehorse will become the seventh city to participate in Kayak for a Cure, a cancer fundraiser first started in Vancouver five years ago that has spread to such cities as Victoria, Mississauga, Columbus, Ohio and San Francisco.

“I saw a clip on (television) last August and, since I’m a kayaker, I thought, ‘That’s so cool, I should do that,’” said organizer Judy Ratcliffe. “I’m a teacher and several colleagues passed away from cancer … and then there was Terry Fox, and I thought, ‘If Terry Fox can do that, I can do something too.’”

Ratcliffe is hoping to raise $10,000 through the event, but with registration being lower than expected – with just eight paddlers currently registered – she is hoping more will sign up.

“We’re a little disappointed by that because we know there are so many kayakers in the Yukon,” said Ratcliffe. “But there are a lot of things going on that weekend.

“Most of the other cities do it in August, so we’re looking at doing it then next year.”

Up North Adventures is providing kayaks for those requiring one, as well as transportation back from the finishing location.

Taking the same route as the Yukon Canoe and Kayak Club’s Chili and Beans Downriver Race, the event is an 18.5-kilometre trip from Rotary Park in downtown Whitehorse to the Takhini River Bridge.

To register for the race or to sponsor a paddler, visit

All proceeds will go to the Canadian Cancer Society’s BC/Yukon office and will be designated for Yukon cancer patients.

Each paddler has been asked to commit to raising $300. Once registered, paddlers can set up an electronic account and simply forward the address to people via e-mail to help secure sponsors.

“It’s very easy because most of it can be done online,” said Ratcliffe. “I have raised about $2,300, with not much effort. And I said I’d shave my head if I raise more than $1,000, so I’m shaving my head on Thursday – why did I say that?” she asked rhetorically with a laugh.

Contact Tom Patrick at

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