Pete and Cindy Fuderer are accustomed to meeting interesting people at Buckhorn Yacht Harbour, but most of them arrive in engine-propelled vessels.
Steve Chard does things differently – and the Fuderers discovered that when Steve arrived there by kayak at the beginning of September. You see, Steve is on a mission to complete what is known as “The Great Loop”. Starting out this past June in Halifax, Nova Scotia, he is kayaking through 4 Canadian provinces and 22 US states, navigating some of the biggest lakes and waterways of North America, and finishing up back in Halifax in September 2019 – a journey of nearly 10,000 km!
Chard, recently retired as an Emergency Care Assistant with the Dorchester Ambulance Station (that’s Dorchester, England), is using this incredible journey to raise money and awareness for Kidney Research UK, as well as eight more charities – three British, three American and two Canadian.
Fundraising is his passion, something he has been doing since leaving school and joining the Royal Navy. He said: “I’ve always been a bit of a serial fundraiser. It was mainly running, but I can’t do that anymore due to a weakened hamstring. I had to try something different and took up kayaking. So far, I haven’t looked back.
“I set myself a challenge and each challenge comes with a great opportunity to fundraise and to raise awareness of issues that are important to me.”
Chard learned firsthand the obstacles and hardships encountered by patients and families dealing with kidney disease – after retiring from the Royal Navy, in 2005 Steve started work as a healthcare assistant for Dorset County Hospital in the renal ward and on the haemodialysis unit.
“The amount of time you spend with a patient, their family and friends, in such difficult circumstances, makes you become very close to them. You see people when they are their most vulnerable,” he explains.
The need to help, the desire to make a difference; this is what compelled Steve Chard to celebrate retirement by embarking on this amazing voyage along the waterways of North America.
And that is how, on a lovely September day, he found himself in Buckhorn, Ontario, embraced by the hospitality of Pete and Cindy Fuderer on Day 86 of his fifteen-month adventure.
You can follow Steve’s journey on Facebook @PaddleWithSteve
For more information, and for a link to his “JustGiving” fundraising campaign, check out https://www.kidneyresearchuk.org/news/steve-chard-one-man-his-kayak-and-6000-miles-of-water