On Board 2016 | Paddling to Fight Cancer

 Madeline Leblanc

Madeline Leblanc, On Board. Photo: Anthony Gallaccio

On Board 2016 | Paddling to Fight Cancer

Nineteen-year-old Madeline Leblanc has continued to turn her passion of standup paddleboarding into a fundraiser to honor 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 the legacies 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 third year in a row.

With the success of last year's event, which took place on July 23rd for the second time, Madeline has planned to paddle again this year. On Thursday July 14rd Madeline will be paddling 10km down the Welland Canal while encouraging others to join her. At 2pm the paddling journey will start at the Welland International Flatwater Centre on Townline Rd. From there paddlers will paddle to the Pen Financial Credit Union Flatwater Centre, then turnaround and head back to WIFC. 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 $15. 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 and Julia. Those who are interested in paddling must contact Madeline through email or Facebook. There is no registration fee or age limit, however Madeline would like those who want to paddle to wear a 2015 On Board shirt which can be ordered in advanced by contacting her. Paddlers will meet at 1:30 and 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 2 pm the paddle will start and will take approximately 2-3 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') or to donate online please click here. This is a safe secure website where the money goes straight to the Canadian Cancer Society. There will also be a huge donation jar on display on the 14th 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. The fundraising goal for this year is $3000, so come on out on July 14th to remember two wonderful people by paddling and having fun! GET ON BOARD!!