Dusi Marathon: Paddlers ‘combine 4 a good cause’

2012-01-17 00:00

FOUR brave paddlers from the Pietermaritzburg area will take to the waters of The Unlimited Dusi canoe marathon next month in a massive K4 canoe in a bid to raise money to provide prosthetic limbs for youngsters living in the Valley of a Thousand Hills.

The idea is the brainchild of Craig Gibson, who has co-opted the services of friends Shane Wright, Craig Wright and Clint Lawson to try and navigate their long, unwieldy craft through the 120 km of tight rocky rapids from Camps Drift to Blue Lagoon.

Only once before in the history of the race has a K4 finished the race, but the boat took a pounding from the rocks en route to Durban.

“Conventional wisdom says the task is extremely difficult, and even the popular K3 craft shy away from the race,” said Gibson.

The “Paddle for a Limb” project aims to raise enough money to provide new prostheses for four youngsters living in poor homes in the valley, who otherwise would never be able to afford the artificial limbs. Outdoor power product manufacturer Husqvarna has stepped in to back the initiative.

Craig Wright, one of the four paddlers, runs a prosthetics business in Pietermaritzburg and has undertaken to make and fit the artificial limbs for the youngsters, who will be selected by former Dusi champ and Change-A-Life Academy head Martin Dreyer and the head of the race committee, Cameron Mackenzie.

“We know it is a near-impossible task and one heck of a challenge, but we decided to take it on because we feel so strongly about this cause,” said Shane Wright.

“Depending on the river conditions we are going to have to portage a lot more than other paddlers, so we know it is going to be tough.”

He urged fellow paddlers and supporters of The Unlimited Dusi to back them by making a donation to the trust set up for the project.

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