Four years later, twenty-year-old Madeline Leblanc has continued to turn her passion of stand up paddle boarding into a fundraiser to honour two friends lost to cancer. Madeline bought her first board and started paddling in 2012, after she fell in love with the sport at age ten. In 2011 Julia Turner passed away at fifteen due to a brain tumor, and earlier that same year Lynn Lambert passed at thirty-seven. They were two wonderful people that deserve to be remembered because of their legacy’s they left behind. They were always giving back to others in the community and putting others needs before theirs. They both taught all of Welland to treasure every moment of your life, and dedicate yourself to helping others when you can.
As a result of the young girls passing’s Madeline created ‘On Board’ where she paddled 10km on July 10th 2014 down the Welland Canal in a little over two hours to raise funds for brain cancer research. Madeline raised a grand total of $4013.05 her first year hosting On Board to hand into the Canadian Cancer Society. Creating On Board was her way of saying goodbye to Julia and Lynn, and also her way of giving back to the cancer community. The impact this event has left on Madeline has driven her to run this event again for a fourth year in a row with raising over $15,000 to date.
With the success of last year’s event, which took place on July 14th for the third time, Madeline has planned to paddle again this year. One big special change for On Board this year is that Madeline will also be honouring Dalton Jacques and McKenna Modler at the event. Dalton Jacques was another young member of the Welland community who passed away too soon due to cancer in March of 2016. McKenna Modler is a sixteen-year-old girl from Gananoque Ontario who still continues to fight brain cancer through her own fundraiser called ‘McKenna’s Dream’. On Sunday July 2nd 2017 Madeline will be paddling 10km down the Welland Canal while encouraging others to join her. At 2pm the paddling journey will start at the Pen Financial Credit Union Flatwater Centre at the end of Thorold Rd. From there paddlers will paddle to the Welland International Flatwater Centre, then turnaround and head back to the Pen Financial Credit Union Flatwater Centre. At the starting point one of On Board’s sponsors Ausmosis Board Works will be hosting a free SUP demo day if people would like to try paddle boarding. There will be a free BBQ as well, along with extra On Board t-shirts that will be on sale for $20. Last year over 100 people came out, and Madeline would love to see even more this year!
Madeline encourages anyone from beginner to expert paddling experience to join her on the canal to remember Lynn, Julia, Dalton Jacques and McKenna Modler. There is no registration fee or age limit, however Madeline would like those who want to paddle to wear a 2017 On Board shirt which can be ordered in advanced when you sign up on paddleGuru. Paddlers will meet at 1:30 where they are encouraged to bring a kayak, canoe, or SUP board as well as a personal flotation device such as a lifejacket. There will also be limited boards available to rent provided by the Welland Recreational Canal Corporation. At 2pm the paddle will start and will take approximately 1-2 hours. Afterwards participates are welcomed to grab food, take photos, swim and socialize. This event is a great way to get some exercise while trying something new!
Those who do not want to paddle are welcomed to come to the canal to watch and enjoy a fun summer day! To donate you may directly donate by cash or check to Madeline (checks can be made out to the ‘Canadian Cancer Society’) There will also be a huge donation jar on display on the 2nd for cash donations. Returning sponsors are Ausmosis Board Works, Impact Promotions Niagara, Miss Dars School of Dance, Surf the Greats, Vesuvius Canada, Brailey&Chambers Bookkeeping Services and Serianni Construction. New sponsors include Surf Dreams Canada, Jake Liota’s Landscaping, Wappa Paddleboards and Sport Chek. The fundraising goal for this year is $7000, so come on out on Sunday July 2nd to remember two wonderful people by paddling and having fun! GET ON BOARD!!