Paddlers rally behind co-worker

A fundraiser for brain injury prevention and recovery hit home when one of the Kelowna Capital News’s production staff was hit by a vehicle.

Capital News stand up paddlers (from left) Megan Munro

What started out as a fun activity to support a local charity has evolved into a lesson in life for staff members of the Kelowna Capital News.

Four people had signed on as a team for a paddleboarding fundraiser in support of BrainTrust Canada, set to take place Sunday, Aug. 9, at Rotary Beach in Kelowna.

But the purpose behind BrainTrust Canada, to educate and fund research about brain injury prevention and recovery, hit home when one of the newspaper’s production staff, Janice Collier, was hit by a vehicle while on a crosswalk in Vernon on July 11.

Collier suffered severe injuries to her knee, pelvis and ankle along with head trauma that caused swelling in her brain. The vehicle, a Jeep Liberty, was driven by a 92-year-old male who, after colliding with Collier, then sheared off a light standard before coming to a stop.

“It was a pretty sombre Monday morning to come looking to get support to paddle to raise money for brain injury prevention only to find one of our colleagues fighting for her life with a severe brain injury,” said Rob Lindsay, a Capital News advertising rep.

“It brought home to us the importance of what BrainTrust Canada does. The accident was a random thing for someone to get hit on a crosswalk, but it sure made what we were doing, to raise money for BrainTrust, seem a lot more important.

“It’s not just a paddle board race for charity anymore. It will have a deeper meaning for all of us.”

It was also a reminder of what happened to Steven Kania, who was hit by a car being chased by Kelowna RCMP while delivering his Capital News paper route in Rutland back in 2013. He suffered a brain injury in the accident, a case which is still before the courts as the driver is facing criminal charges.

As a result, the Capital News team representation has increased as well with two four-person teams now entered in the event: The Capital News Cruisers—Rob Lindsay, Kevin Parnell, Al Tomiak and Nancy Blow; and SUPDawgz—Christine Mould, Megan Munro, ReMax realtor Tamara Terlesky and Christy Phillips.

The fundraising goal is for each team to raise $1,000, which will work out to $250 a paddler. The overall goal of BrainTrust for the event is to raise $50,000.

To make a donation to either team, go to www.paddleforprevention.myevent.com/participant/209108.

Lindsay said he first started paddle boarding in 2011 when the sport was relatively new on the scene. He had a lot of questions about the finer points of the sport and nowhere to find answers, so he took a certified instructor’s course through Paddle Canada.

“I never really wanted to be an instructor. I just wanted to be able to give good information to people with the same questions I had,” said Lindsay.

Now one of the fastest recreational sports activities in the world, paddle boarding’s roots date back thousands of years.

It’s popularity in the modern era tends to come from Hawaii, where in the 1940s surf instructors in Waikiki would take paddles and stand on their surf boards to get a better view of the surfers in the water and incoming swells.

Lindsay said paddle boarding is a very accessible activity for people of all ages, which is why he encourages anyone interested to take part in the fun race planned for the BrainTrust fundraiser, regardless of whether you have ever stood up on a paddle board.

The event kicks off at 8:30 a.m. with a Moksha Yoga warmup, followed by individual and team relays from 9 a.m. to noon. There will be a barbecue put on for participants from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. by sponsors Costco and the Kelowna Sunrise Rotary Club. There will also be other fun family “Twoonie Activities,” face painting and a bouncy house for the kids.

The entry fee is $40 per adult and $20 for youth aged 18 and under. The minimum age for participation is 7.

There are also significant fundraising incentive prizes at various levels from Costco and the Kelowna Paddle Centre, and a chance to win a round trip for two to any scheduled WestJet destination for those participants who raise $500 or more.

For more about this event or brain injury, check out the website braintrustcanada.com.