Creating change with a paddle

For Madeline Leblanc, advancing brain cancer research and preserving the memory of her friends are both done through the dip of paddle.

Madeline paddling on Welland canal

After losing two friends to cancer, the 2B Environment student was determined to involve her community in commemorating their lives. Madeline then created On Board, a cancer research fundraiser.

I started On Board because of Julia Turner and Lynn Lambert, two young women who dedicated their lives to helping others. When they passed, I wanted to do something for them because they gave up every bit of themselves for other people. They were amazing role models and deserve to be remembered.

On Board participants on beach after fundraiserOn Board is an annual paddling event that raises money for brain cancer research with the Canadian Cancer Society. Taking place for the first time in summer 2015, the fundraiser is held in Welland, Ontario, the place Madeline became friends with Julia and Lynn.  

 
 

To Madeline, On Board is more than a fundraiser; it is a way to connect with Julia and Lynn.

When Julia and Lynn passed away, I never got a chance to say goodbye, and On Board felt like the perfect way to say that. It is a way of showing that we don’t just have to sit back and watch cancer take those we love; we can choose to fight back by doing something good.

On Board has received overwhelming support from people in Welland, including eight community sponsors from the Niagara Region. This support has brought hope to Madeline and a sense of her own power to evoke social change.

On Board is important to Welland and other communities because it brings people together to not only remember Julia and Lynn, but to continue teaching the life values that they lived for. On Board has taught me that you can achieve anything if you put your mind and dedication towards that. I have learned to take that attitude and put it towards my school work as well, and it has helped me be successful.

Madeline embracing On Board participant

Last summer On Board raised $5,120 with 15 paddlers participating. In July 2016, Madeline’s goal is to recruit 20 paddlers and raise over $6000.

This year, the On Board fundraiser takes place on July 14 at the Welland International Flatwater Centre. Leblanc warmly invites members of the UWaterloo community to attend the fundraiser, either as paddlers, swimmers or guests. She hopes that On Board will inspire others to go after their goals in life, whatever they may be.

The day consists of a 10km paddle ride down the Welland Canal. Anyone can come out with any type of paddling experience with a canoe, kayak, SUP board, or anything else!  Afterwards participants are welcome to grab food, take photos, swim and socialize. Those who do not want to paddle are welcome to come to the canal to watch and enjoy a fun summer day!

To learn more about paddling for change, contact Madeline via email or via the On Board Facebook page. To support brain cancer research, Leblanc encourages supporters to donate online or make out a cheque to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Madeline holding paddle in front of On Board participants

  1. 2018 (56)
    1. December (1)
    2. November (5)
    3. October (7)
    4. September (4)
    5. August (1)
    6. July (2)
    7. June (5)
    8. May (8)
    9. April (3)
    10. March (7)
    11. February (5)
    12. January (8)
  2. 2017 (62)
    1. December (3)
    2. November (7)
    3. October (7)
    4. September (4)
    5. July (4)
    6. June (7)
    7. May (7)
    8. April (3)
    9. March (8)
    10. February (7)
    11. January (5)
  3. 2016 (73)
    1. December (2)
    2. November (5)
    3. October (6)
    4. September (6)
    5. August (4)
    6. July (6)
    7. June (8)
    8. May (9)
    9. April (6)
    10. March (9)
    11. February (7)
    12. January (5)
  4. 2015 (65)
    1. December (5)
    2. November (6)
    3. October (3)
    4. September (4)
    5. August (4)
    6. July (4)
    7. June (5)
    8. May (6)
    9. April (5)
    10. March (9)
    11. February (7)
    12. January (7)
  5. 2014 (88)
    1. December (3)
    2. November (8)
    3. October (9)
    4. September (8)
    5. August (4)
    6. July (9)
    7. June (8)
    8. May (9)
    9. April (7)
    10. March (8)
    11. February (7)
    12. January (8)
  6. 2013 (38)
    1. December (4)
    2. November (8)
    3. October (10)
    4. September (8)
    5. August (8)