JOIN UP: Ben Lowry, 9, has inspired his  canoe club to set up a virtual paddle charity event.
JOIN UP: Ben Lowry, 9, has inspired his canoe club to set up a virtual paddle charity event. Michelle Lowry

'Spirit of the club': Raise a paddle for organ donation

AN INSPIRATIONAL boy has spurred along a charity event idea for a Boyne Island canoe club.

Canoe Point Outrigger Canoe Club has organised a virtual paddle challenge for the month of April to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation.

Similar to how a virtual run works, participants do not have to meet up at Boyne Island for the event and anyone around the world can take part.

They have the month to paddle a set distance, from 25-150km, and can also complete the challenge at their own leisure and capacity.

Organiser Michelle Lowry said entrants would log their journeys on social media.

"You can upload (your progress) on our Facebook page or via email,” Ms Lowry said.

Participants can also advertise their progress on their own personal Facebook page.

"You can also take photos (of your progress) - it's quite interactive,” Ms Lowry said.

At the end of the month the club will tally up distances recorded and award commemorative medals.

Organ and tissue donation is a cause close to the hearts of club members, with four paddlers having family members or friends requiring the procedure.

One of those is Ms Lowry's son Ben, 9, who was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in 2016 and will require a transplant in the future.

Canoe paddling is one of the few sports he can participate in due to his condition.

"He's the spirit of the club,” Ms Lowry said.

Before his diagnosis Ben was able to partake in activities such as rugby league and ride motorbikes.

However, the condition has not hampered his outlook on life.

"It doesn't stop him - it doesn't let him down,” Ms Lowry said.

Despite the outcome, Ben has participated in events at Mooloolaba and the Gold Coast and was part of the U12 team at a national competition.

There are 12,000 Australians on kidney dialysis with 1400 people waiting for a transplant.

Full event details are available on the DonateLife Virtual Paddle Facebook page.



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