First Descents Paddle-a-Thon returns to the Colorado River
What does it take to make a difference in the life of a young adult battling cancer? How about a day of paddling with friends during the third annual First Descents Paddle-a-Thon, taking place on Saturday, July 10.Join fellow kayakers, rafters and tubers in logging as many miles as possible on the Upper Colorado from Rancho del Rio to State Bridge to raise money and awareness for First Descents, a Vail-based kayak camp for young adults with cancer. “Paddle-a-Thon is a loosely-used term as it relates to this event,” said pro kayaker Brad Ludden, founder of First Descents. “In past years, we’ve seen everything from inner tubes to rafts to fiberglass kayaks to duos. This event offers the perfect opportunity to spend a day with friends on the river – whatever your craft – while raising money for a great cause.”Paddle-A-Thon participants solicit pledges for each mile paddled or a flat fee donation for participation. At the end of the day, mileage will be tabulated and all the money raised will help more young people participate in the First Descents camps. The Paddle-A-Thon is open to everyone and will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 10. Registration will be located at the Colorado River Center at Rancho del Rio. Paddle-A-Thon participants will paddle or float the five miles from Rancho del Rio to State Bridge as many times as possible and a free shuttle back to the put-in will be provided. Boat rentals, including kayaks, sit-on-top boats and duckies will be available for a nominal fee from the Colorado River Center. After spending the day on the river, all paddlers and floaters can head to the State Bridge Lodge for music, libations and good company.First Descents is a non-profit kayak camp designed to help young adults face the challenge of living with cancer. Created in 2001 by Vail local Ludden, First Descents uses the experience of learning to kayak as a metaphor for life. Each summer, camp participants learn to define fears, face challenges and overcome everyday obstacles through a variety of unique opportunities. In addition to kayaking, participants partake in activities such as biking, hiking, fishing and horseback riding. Transportation, meals, and accommodations are provided to camp participants free of charge, which is made possible through fundraising opportunities such as the Paddle-a-Thon. For Paddle-a-Thon pledge forms or for more information, please contact Sari Chwalk at 390-2965.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.