Kelowna, B.C. woman to paddle, row 365 km for autism awareness, fundraising

Click to play video: 'Woman paddling 365 kilometres for Autism awareness'
Woman paddling 365 kilometres for Autism awareness
It's not exactly the time of year for water sports but in Kelowna — one woman is doing a lot of paddling on Okanagan Lake this month. She's on a mission to paddle and row 365 kilometres and as Klaudia Van Emmerik reports, it's for a cause near and dear to her heart – Mar 20, 2024

It may not be water sports season just yet but that’s not stopping a Kelowna, B.C., woman from choosing to spend a lot of time on Okanagan Lake these days.

“It’s a bit chilly,” said Kim Inglis.

Inglis has made it her mission to complete 365 km either on her home rowing machine or in her surf-ski kayak on the lake during March.

“I actually have about 100 km left, so I’m in the home stretch,”  Inglis said.

Inglis decided to take on the challenge to raise awareness and funds for autism while honouring the legacy of her late cousin.

“This past summer, my cousin, who I was very close with, who was just a year older than me, he passed away,” she said.

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“He left behind a wife and a young son who is on the autism spectrum and one thing that he had been really passionate about was raising funds and awareness for autism. and he’d been very active at that.”

Called Making Waves for Autism, the month-long event hopes to raise $25,000 for Autism Canada and its programs for those in need.

“It’s been an emotional month for that because Tyler is someone that I was, you know, I was very close with,” she said.

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“Having this … take on a life of its own and become something that can create a legacy for him has been just, it’s been great.”

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Inglis said she chose to paddle and row 365 km as a symbol of life with autism.

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“Autism doesn’t just end. It’s something that’s a life-long journey for people and so I wanted to represent the 365 days a year that people on the spectrum are, you know, dealing with autism and also the families that care for them,” Inglis said.

The paddle and row will culminate on April  2, which is World Autism Day.

“Autism touches all of us. Everybody either knows someone … who is caring for a family member with autism or they themselves have it,” Inglis said.

Inglis hopes to make this an annual event and grow it every year.

“This is something that originally started as an idea to honour my cousin’s legacy, but what I realized is that I can actually make a much larger impact with this,” Inglis said.

“And so, next year I’m going to be creating this. It’s going to be building into a national-scale event where I’m going to have paddlers and rowers from across Canada be able to participate in this.”

She has raised nearly $20,000 and is hoping for at least $5,000 more to reach her goal and as she tries to achieve it, she has her cousin Tyler and his son Ryder on her mind.

“He is just such a wonderful, wonderful little boy,” she said. “He is just like his dad, he is full of energy. He’s always smiling, always happy. He’s just a joy.”

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You can go to the Making Waves For Autism website for more information or to donate.

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