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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Roses Are Red - Portages Are Pink!

The Pink Canoe in Huntsville, ON.
Not many of us look forward to a portage (unlike our friends Preston and Nancy over at Some of those off-water routes are pretty gruelling, after all. But none so gruelling as The Pink Portage. This 1200 km portage, with a pink canoe, through southern Ontario (From Kingston to Windsor!) is bringing awareness to cancer research and raising funds for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Andrew Metcalfe, the man under the pink canoe, was moved by the experience of three close family members, his mom, his grandmother and his aunt, who were all diagnosed with breast cancer. He decided to take action, with the unlikely idea to carry a canoe for cancer. For those of us who have experienced portaging, we know this will be no easy task.

As Andrew puts it, "I will encounter constantly changing inclines, slippery gravel walkways, gusty headwinds, seemingly increasing canoe and pack weight and obvious fatigue and soreness. All this may seem like a lot, but it pales in comparison to what a person with cancer goes through on a daily basis."

We couldn't help but be moved by Andrew's passion and spirit. But after reading his story in various news papers and websites, we were even more personally motivated to support Andrew's Pink Portage. As it turns out, both Andrew and Fiona graduated from the same highschool - Lakeshore Collegiate Institute - a huge surprise to Fiona***.

We think Andrew was digging the LCI connection too.***
Here he is pictured with Mike [right] in front of the Algonquin Outfitters
store in Huntsville, ON (Andrew [left] asked to bring out some Badger paddles
for the photo op - after all they were made by one of his fellow alumni).

So when Andrew portaged thru Huntsville, ON (the hometown of Badger® Paddles) just a short while ago, we made sure to show our support for his fight against cancer and tried to provide some encouragement as well. After spending a rest night in the area, having spent the evening meeting well-wishers and supporters at the Algonquin Outfitters Huntsville location, Andrew woke the next day to find a pink Badger® WaterColours™ Paddle donation under his pink canoe - put there by the little paddle elves while he slept away some of his physical exhaustion from the many miles already portaged.

"Thank you for making the canoe feel lighter this morning." Andrew's email said after finding the pink paddle. If only Andrew knew how much we are thanking him - for having the determination to make a difference and the fortitude to follow thru with his charitable intentions. He has inspired us all on so many levels. He has also proven to the world that "true men portage pink"!

Read the story behind The Pink Portage, or track, and follow Andrew during his pink portaging adventure for cancer:

Donate via the website and track his progress:

Follow Andrew's travels on his blog:

Email to offer your support:

Connect with the Pink Portage on Facebook:

Tweet your support onTwitter:

Be sure to watch for Andrew on your travels for the next while (we hear he likes cold water or Gatorade™) and show him your support along the way, either in person or by way of the links above. After all, we are all in the fight against cancer together!

"[sic]... your support will be the difference from just a guy carrying a pink canoe to something where we all take a step together in the fight against cancer." ~ Andrew of The Pink Portage

"Together, we portage; Together, We Can!"

***Although Lakeshore Collegiate Institute (LCI) may sound like an appropriately named highschool for a pink portaging humanitarian and a canoe paddle business owner to have both graduated from, LCI is not a place where canoeing or kayaking is/was a popular past time. At least it wasn't during Fiona's time there. In fact, none of Fiona's friends or peers really canoed or portaged - at least not on wilderness trips  - when she was in highschool. Except for Fiona (plus a very select few who she would  later convince to accompany her to Algonquin Park) and her family, most didn't share the interest of travelling canoe routes north of the city. "There was no one for me to really talk to about canoeing or paddling back then. It wasn't something I could share with most of my friends. I am not sure what Andrew's (The Pink Portage) personal experience was, graduating from Lakeshore Collegiate in 2010, and whether or not he had paddling friends at LCI (or if his family was his influence as mine was with me), but I definitely blushed pink with excitement when I saw that he was a fellow Lakeshore grad. Finally a LCI paddler like me - complete with portages too! Plus it is a really great cause to support." Fiona said.

While it may have taken almost 2 decades for Fiona to find a fellow paddler from her highschool - the wait was well worth it. For Andrew is not only part paddler and part portager,  he is also part philanthropist too. Fiona and Mike are proud to support Andrew and The Pink Portage - no Badger® buts about it! Good luck to Andrew in his final steps towards Windsor - the end of his epic fundraising journey of cancer awareness. ‎In the words of Carol Pearson, “Heroes take journeys, confront dragons, and discover the treasure of their true selves.”. We all know that heroes come in many forms... but apparently they are now even known to carry a pink canoe.

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