What a trip its been, the Massive Murray Paddle (MMP) is an experience I will certainly never forget! The sheer expanse of water unfolding day by day, the cool shadows of the towering redgums and sometimes the whispering willows bending near the river’s edge in the early morning, the sun sparkling on the rippling water, the bird calls echoing against the steep banks all add to the magic of the Murray River. It is hard to believe that one river can have so many different currents; patches of totally still water, gushing rapids around the fallen trees through the rapids, sandy beaches and intimidating clay cliffs. Our two seater kayak has conquered it all!
In addition to the panorama that sets the scene for this epic challenge are the wonderful people who participate in the MMP. The friendly banter resounds down the river at the starting point each morning, from teams who have travelled from all over Australia to be apart of this wonderful experience. Some competitors have even come from as far away as Scotland, France and the US. Whenever passing each other on the river, there is always a friendly hello, a shout of encouragement, or the quirky observation that someone has definitely “added extra bends to this river!” Some competitors are there to race the fastest, some are there to beat their own personal best, some for the experience of working together as a team to accomplish such a huge undertaking. Some race to make the most money for their charity while others simply want to enjoy the scenery. But whatever their motivation may be, the spirit among all competitors was one of unity. At each checkpoint and at the end of each day, all teams supported one another, whether it be helping other crews secure their boats, lending a sturdy arm to an exhausted rower as they make their way up a slippery muddy bank, or simply just cheering each other on.
As part of the CWA “chicks with attitude” team, I had the privilege of paddling alongside 9 other women from all walks of life, all levels of kayaking experience and all ages, the youngest being only 17. And the oldest, our amazing team captain, a very young 82 year old; a seasoned veteran of the event for the past 13 years. Our fundraising aimed at Crohn’s and Colitis Australia, is the chosen charity that the CWA is supporting nationally this year. Crohn’s and colitis are chronic inflammatory bowel diseases that effect over 80,000 people nation wide. Usually identified in children, adolescents and young adults, the symptoms are debilitating, and the chance of leading a normal active life are greatly compromised. Unfortunately there is no cure, and treatments can only lessen the symptoms. Our efforts in the MMP alone have raised over $3,700, that will be used in research to better treat these illnesses and provide support those suffering. But it doesn’t end there; contributions can be made through our group fundraising site: Go Fund Me
Or for more information on this debilitating disease and more fundraising options, visit Crohn’s and Colitis