Midcoast man to paddle 300 miles in kayak race to raise funds for cancer

Jan 10, 2019

Friendship — Daniel Cahalane of Friendship plans to take part in the 2019 Everglades Challenge small boat race to raise money for St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis. He will paddle 300 miles from St. Petersburg to Key Largo, Fla. The race, billed as the toughest small-boat endurance race in the world, begins March 2.

In a press release, Cahalaine described his fundraiser. “Most charity drives just ask people to pledge a certain amount per mile or hour completed. To me, that just didn't seem sporting enough. I figure I should have some skin in the game too. That’s why I started betagainstcancer.org.

"People still pledge for every mile I complete, but I’m going to match their pledge for each mile I don’t complete. I’m basically asking people to bet against me. I figure in the end we all win, since the money all goes to the great work that St Jude’s does.” He  hopes to raise $10,000 for St Jude's.

A Registered Maine Sea Kayak Guide and a certified sea-kayak instructor, Cahalane has been paddling for more than 20 years. In the release, he said, the only time he hasn’t paddled was when he was battling lymphoma himself several years ago. It was his own battle with cancer that made him want to help St Jude's

While most of the competitors in the race will be using high-tech racing boats made of the latest composite materials like Kevlar or carbon fiber, according to the press release, Cahalaine will be paddling a boat of his own design and construction, which is decidedly not high-tech. The boat is a skin-on-frame kayak, similar to those used by Greenland’s Inuit community. Cahalaine has updated the design to provide better handling and speed and has replaced the traditional seal skin covering with modern rip-stop nylon, but the construction method is still very much old-school. The boat is tied together with artificial sinew and the skin covering is stitched on by hand.

Follow Cahalaine's progress or make a pledge to support him at betagainstcancer.org.

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