Couple aims to fundraise $10,000 for cancer
treatment with second paddle around P.E.I.
Ashton MacNeill and Kenton Smallman plan to circumnavigate the island in their kayaks for a second time starting Thursday. The pair hopes to raise $10,000 for the Cancer Treatment Centre in Charlottetown.Article by Jim Day, July 10, 2012
In 2010, MacNeill and her partner Kenton Smallman circumnavigated the island in 21 days, raising $1,400 for the P.E.I. division of the Canadian Cancer Society.
Setting off Thursday, MacNeill, 25, of Charlottetown hopes to complete the journey in just 16 to 18 days. She would also like to raise $10,000 for the Cancer Treatment Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown.
To shave as much as a handfull of days off from the 2010 trek, MacNeill and Kenton, 23, plan to make some adjustments to make the outing faster and less burdensome.
They will pack lighter, including hauling along a smaller tent. They will also try to hit the water early, no later than 7:30 a.m., after discovering their first time around that the wind picks up in the afternoon.
"Try to get a good chunk done before lunch," said MacNeill.
The couple look to average about 30 kilometres a day with overnight stops at campgrounds and provincial parks.
In an attempt to raise considerably more money, the pair has been holding more fundraising events leading up to the trip. The also plan to lean more heavily on social media to promote their fundraising voyage.
Regular updates will be posted on the Facebook site http://www.facebook.com/KayakingForCancer Donations can be made at the couples website http://kayakingforcancerpei.ca/
Thirdly, media did not pick up on the couple's fundraising adventure until MacNeill and Smallman had already kayaked half way around the Island in 2010. MacNeill made a point of approaching The Guardian well in advance this time around.
Both MacNeill and Smallman have a personal attachment to their fundraising cause. MacNeill lost two uncles, a grandmother and a grandfather to cancer. Smallman lost his grandfather to the disease.
MacNeill didn't know what to expect before setting out in 2010 in a kayak to paddle around the Island.
The couple's novice trip, she says, was highlighted by the natural beauty of the province that included being trailed through the water by seals and the sight of whales splashing about.
There were also challenges such as being tracked for five kilometers along the shore by a pair of wild dogs, sand flea infestations, and MacNeill's kayak almost submerging when it filled with water during rough whitecap conditions.
Setting daily targets helped the pair reach their final goal.
"The biggest marker for us was the Confederation Bridge," said MacNeill.
"We could see it for so long, it was like a tease. When we finally passed under it, it was such a good feeling."
Neither has been kayaking since the fall but both have been keeping in top physical condition for their upcoming run.
MacNeill, who is studying kinestiology, is working towards her fitness certification as a personal trainer with the International Sports Sciences Association and has recently started leading her own bootcamp through TogetherFit.
Hauling in lobsters help keeps Smallman fit.
MacNeill has little concern with the fact she and her partner have not been kayaking for several monht.
"It's kind of like a bike," she said.
"It comes right back to you."