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Paddle for CHEO raises more than $10K

By Celina Ip


PETAWAWA – The Town of Petawawa’s first annual Paddle for CHEO event raised more than $10,000 for the children’s hospital.

Formerly part of a series of three events called Stand Up for CHEO – that took place in Ottawa, Kingston and Petawawa over the past seven years – this was the first year that the Upper Ottawa River Race & Paddle Festival took the event under their wing.

Earlier this year, the Stand Up for CHEO founders made the decision to step down from the helm and hand over the torch to a new group of organizers. Since hosting the highly praised charitable paddling event over the past three years, the Town of Petawawa happily accepted the torch and continued on the tradition of including it within the lineup of festivities at the Upper Ottawa River Race & Paddle Festival.

“In 2017, ‘Stand Up for CHEO’ decided to close shop after having met their original goal. However the spirit lives on in a new event titled 'Paddle for CHEO that we’re hosting at the Upper Ottawa River Race today. Donations raised will help the hospital provide a wide-range of paediatric programs, research, state-of-the-art equipment, medical and nursing education, and assistance for families in crisis,” said Cyndy Phillips, economic development officer with the Town of Petawawa.

Taking place the morning of August 13, the first paddle – including both a five kilometre and 12 kilometre race – attracted 50 paddlers of all ages who set off from Petawawa Point on their stand-up paddleboards, canoes and kayaks. An average of $200 per paddler was raised for CHEO.

“I want to thank everyone here for coming back and for the Town of Petawawa for continuing the Stand-Up for CHEO tradition. We always said that Petawawa was the crown jewel of our little event because really when you come up here it's incredibly beautiful, and I have to say that I'm really happy that you guys have carried the torch on and I'm happy to be a part of it as a participant this year,” said Duncan Keith, one of the founders of Stand Up for CHEO.

The second race involved five teams of local celebrities, including teams for The Town of Petawawa, the City of Pembroke, MyFM, SRB Technologies as well as Johnson & Mackie.

Each team had three members who took turns paddling back and forth during the relay race.

Throughout the race, the Petawawa and Pembroke teams constantly kept an eye on one another as they fought to get the upper-hand in the friendly competition.

“Since inception of this race, the Town of Petawawa and the City of Pembroke have had a friendly competition. The first year that we did this, they finished ahead of us. The second year that we did this, we finished ahead of them. So now it's the big tie-breaker this year,” said Town of Petawawa councillor Theresa Sabourin, who paddled with fellow councillors Gary Serviss and James Carmody.

On the Pembroke team, it was Counc. John McCann, human resources coordinator Cindy Van Loan and bylaw enforcement officer Kurtis Ritz.

“It's a little bit of a grudge match because the first year Pembroke beat us, then the second year Petawawa finished ahead. So now we’re trying to get the paddle back for Pembroke and John is hoping he can have us win this year so he can rub it in the others councillors’ faces a little bit. But whatever the results, it's a friendly competition and we're all here for the good cause,” said Van Loan.

By the end of the race, SRB placed first, followed by the Town of Petawawa, the City of Pembroke, MyFM and Johnson & Mackie.

SRB Technologies took home the trophy for the Celebrity Relay Race and they also raised the most in donations at a whopping $2500.


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