Local woman to paddle 162?km in cancer awareness campaign

2013-10-25 00:00

UNPREDICTABLE seas, a gruelling distance and an epic battle of mental toughness will be among the challenges faced by a Durban North surfski paddler during a planned four-day ski paddle from Richards Bay to Durban.

Danica Bartho (27) will take on the Da Real Durban to Pirates downwind surfski challenge as she sets out to become the first woman to successfully paddle from Richards Bay to Durban, covering a distance of 162 km, from October 30 to November 3.

“When it comes to an event such as this, one can never really be 100% ready for the distance, but you need to be headstrong. Mother Nature can throw anything your way; you just have to be prepared to tackle everything and get to the finish,” she said.

Bartho is taking on the exhausting paddle with the hope of drawing attention to the PinkDrive campaign during Breast Cancer Awareness month, and to raise money for a close friend battling cancer.

Fellow paddling enthusiast Nikki “Lettie” Heynes is in a brave fight against liver, lung and bone cancer. Bartho is calling her challenge the “Lettie Paddle” and will use it to raise funds for Heynes’s medical bills.

“There is no better way to achieve something that has never been done and to dedicate it to someone so special makes it even better. If I can endure just four days out at sea, probably experiencing a lot of pain and trials along the way, imagine Nikki being in pain every day and still having that ‘never give up’ attitude,” said Bartho of the friend she considers an inspiration.

“I am motivated and inspired by Lettie and her strength is going to get me through this.

“When I am tired and feeling pain, I will think of her and how in the face of cancer she is the most positive, happy and inspiring person I know. If she can do it, then so can I!”

People can sponsor a rand per kilometre Bartho paddles. For details, visit the campaign’s website (www.lettiepaddle.co.za), or contact Danica via e-mail (danica@biweda.co.za) or call 083 626 6001.

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