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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Grady's Gift: Paddle for SickKids Hospital

People choose to paddle for a variety of reasons;  to escape from their stresses, to get some exercise, to be in the fresh air or close to nature. Others enjoy the serenity & quiet seclusion it can bring to their lives. To many it is a tradition and part of one's heritage. But on July 10, 2010, there couldn't be any better reason to go for a paddle then to remember a special little child named Grady and to help to raise money for Grady's Gift.

Grady was a little boy who was lost to his family in May of 2009 when he was only 6 months old.  Little Grady suffered from HLHS* (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome) - a rare heart defect that sadly took his life - but not before he touched the hearts of many.  And while Grady's family was truly grateful for all the wonderful SickKids staff and care, it wasn't until Grady was having his first operation that his parents Jen and Kevin, found they didn’t qualify for any of the programs the hospital has in effect to keep the parents of critically ill children near by in case of emergency.

Read more about Grady's precious life and his wonderful family on their website at

Grady's family's vision for Grady’s Gift is two fold. They would like to improve the overnight rooms so parents can use them as a place to centre themselves, to regain the strength necessary to spend another day at the bedside and expand the parent overnight rooms so that more parents can be accommodated each night.

How Can Paddling Help?

On Saturday July 10th, 2010, all paddlers are invited to join Grady's Paddle for SickKids as we canoe or kayak from the town of Burk's Falls, ON, down the flat water of the Magnetawan River and across Lake Ceceebe, to the village of Magnetawan. The route is 32km - there will be a shorter paddle for those who are beginners or time constrained (don’t worry…we’re going with the current!) - and it passes through some beautiful scenery just north of Muskoka.

Grady's Run- Canoe and Kayak down the Magnetewan River
Saturday July 10th, 2010

You too can spend your day enjoying the scenery and wildlife while getting some great exercise for a good cause.  Just like Mike and Fiona of Badger Paddles!  Yes - we will be there!

The event will be supported on the water and along the shore, including free transport from the finish back to the start for paddlers as well as their watercraft. Canoe and kayak rentals are available from local outfitters (many at a deep discount) for those who don't have their own.

There will be food, entertainment and great prizes at the end of the route. The grand prize --a 14' Sanarac Sport Kayak made by Swift Canoe-- will be awarded to the participant who collects the most pledges over $1,000.  It will be a fun filled family day sponsored by local business with great prizes, great food and entertainment.  Some of the other prizes include a Badger Paddle (a Nomad) and more!  Click here for all the details: Grady's Gift - Fundraising Details

Paddlers are asked to register and collect pledges in support of SickKids Hospital Critical Care Unit. Grady's Paddle for SickKids is sanctioned by SickKids Foundation and tax receipts will be issued for donations over $20.

On a personal note:
In 2002, our family also found themselves at SickKids Hospital in Toronto due to the complications our son, Makobe, had suffered at birth.   We too were ineligible for parent accommodations but the hospital staff went above and beyond to make many things possible for our family while we stayed with our baby boy.  And, while it was touch and go for a while - we were lucky enough to come home as a family after a month in Toronto.... Grady's family wasn't so lucky.

Grady passed away in his mother's arms on May 11, 2009.   And while Grady will never be forgotten by his family.... Grady's Gift means he will never be forgotten by us.

Thank you to Grady's parents Jen & Kevin, his grandparents and grandmother Judy, and the rest of his family, for bringing Grady, and his Gift to SickKids, into our hearts and minds.   Your strength and dedication to Grady's memory & legacy is a true testament to the human spirit and we at Badger Paddles are grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a compassionate cause.

Grady's Run - Canoe and Kayak down the Magnetewan River
Saturday July 10th, 2010

Grady’s Paddle for SickKids
c/o Judy Dibben, Co-ordinator
Box 104, Burks’s Falls, On. 

If you would just like to donate:
Sick Kids Foundation - Re: Grady's Gift
By Phone: 1-800-661-1053 and refer to Grady's Gift
By Mail: 525 University Ave., 14th Floor, 
Toronto, ON. Canada. M5G 2L3

By Cheque: Made out to: 'The Sick Kids Foundation' — Re: Grady's Gift

Refer to Grady's Gift in the field titled:
"please assign my gift to the following sick kids foundation fund" in the Survey Section.

For any other inquiries, please contact
Kevin or Jennifer at 905-516-6944

*Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome is a rare heart defect . The left side of the heart is smaller than the right, often so small that the heart can’t pump blood out to the rest of the body. Sick Kids is one of the few hospitals in the world able to give children born with HLHS a good chance at life. 20 years ago none of these children lived. Today as many as 70% become happy , active children. Click here for more.

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