CHICOUTIMI QC – From July 9 to July 19, eight 16- to 20-year-olds from different pediatric oncology centres across Canada will set out to explore Georgian Bay by sea kayak. To help prepare them for this great expedition, Amélie Grenier, actress and spokesperson for On the Tip of the Toes Foundation, and Caroline Brunet, triple Olympic medallist in canoe-kayaking (K-1) and 10-time world champion, came to give the adventurers some tips before their departure. The group will be blogging about their trip at www.pointedespieds.com.
Adolescence is often a very difficult period when people try to figure out who they are, but for young Canadians diagnosed with cancer, an isolating disease that may drastically change their bodies, the effect in terms of self-esteem can be enormous. That’s why every On the Tip of the Toes expedition takes young people out of their hospital rooms and puts them together with others their age facing the same challenges.
“For the past 15 years, On the Tip of the Toes Foundation has been all about compassion for youth and passion for nature,” said FrançoisDufour, executive director of the Foundation. “Through these expeditions, we’ve developed unique expertise in wilderness therapy for young people stricken with cancer. They come back from the experience transformed and filled with a source of motivation that stays with them for their entire lives.”
“There are no words to describe the experience I had on my trip to the Yukon in the winter of 2007,” said Émilie Van Winden, 27, from Candiac, Québec. “The Tip of the Toes expedition really changed me. I was able to let everything go, forget about my sickness and the chemotherapy and just think about myself and concentrate on actually living. Taking part in the expedition forced me to push myself, and I realized I could start to live an active life again, despite the artificial hips I have because of my leukemia.”
An unforgettable adventure
The 11-day expedition on Georgian Bay will start in Killbear Provincial Park and take the group to remote and isolated areas, far from civilization. This immense fresh-water bay in Lake Huron introduced the first European fur traders to some magnificent geographical discoveries, but the young participants of this adventure will be embarking on a different kind of voyage, pushing the limits of their own bodies to rediscover themselves. They’ll travel in teams of two in sea kayaks with only the minimum necessities. When darkness falls, they’ll set up camp and spend the evening discussing their experiences.
They won’t be alone on their journey of course. A medical team will accompany them, as well as two Foundation coordinators, to ensure the expedition runs smoothly, and two guides and kayaking experts from the Karavaniers adventure tourism company.
“I really can’t wait to test my limits on this expedition in Georgian Bay and to talk to the other people my age who’ve been through almost the same thing as me,” said Sébastien Allaire, a 20-year-old participant from Saint-Fulgence, Québec.
About On the Tip of the Toes Foundation
On the Tip of the Toes Foundation has been organizing wilderness therapy expeditions for Canadian youth diagnosed with cancer since 1996. In the past 15 years, the Foundation has set up expeditions to allow over 250 young cancer victims to discover 26 superb destinations across Canada. The participants have expanded their horizons on foot, in sea kayaks, in canoes, on dog sleds, on snowshoes and on snowmobiles. Far more than simple outdoor expeditions, these adventures offer the participants an opportunity to spend time with others like themselves to share, talk, understand each other and create bonds of friendship while facing the new challenges of unique outdoor adventures. To learn more about the Foundation, please go towww.pointedespieds.com.