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Wednesday, 13 July 2016 13:30

Eighty-year-old man canoes the Mississippi and reveals the secret of what keeps him so young

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Someone once asked Dale Sanders why at age 80 he decided to canoe the entire Mississippi River. His answer? “It just seemed logical to do it.”


By whose logic? Clearly, Dale does not think like most 80-year-olds.
Last summer, he earned a spot in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest person to canoe the entire Mississippi River, all 2,320 miles or 3,700 kms of it, but that wasn’t the sole purpose of his journey. Dale, who is also known as the Grey Beard Adventurer, wanted to raise money to battle juvenile diabetes, a lifelong condition his 11-year-old grandniece Anna is afflicted with. There is no cure. The Grey Beard Adventurer’s target was to generate $20,000 for research into this dreaded disease. So far, he’s raised $34,000.
I think Dale’s project is heroic for many reasons. He gave himself a lofty goal and was on a mission to help a loved one. Also, his river trip was very inspiring, especially given his age.
When I asked the secret to his longevity, Dale said he thinks it comes down to three facets. The first is staying happy. Good mental health and a positive outlook can’t be overlooked. Next, Dale said it’s important to have faith, friends and family — in other words a support network of like-minded people who value you. The third element is to stay active. It’s much easier to be active at 80 if you’ve stayed in shape during your adult life. 
Dale was recently nominated for Canoe and Kayak Magazine’s Spirit of Adventure Award. This prestigious honour is given annually to the “person or group who best embodies the spirit of adventure in paddling.” Dale is clearly qualified and deserves to win the award.
The Grey Beard Adventurer would be a great ambassador for paddlesports. His life has always been tied to water. A strong swimmer from an early age, he began canoeing in the mid-1950s and in 1961 was the Unites States national spear fishing champion. He’s currently a member of a conservancy group that promotes watershed protection and fosters human connection to wild places.
Those are some of his credentials, but the best reason for him to capture the Spirit of Adventure Award is for the visibility it would bring to juvenile diabetes research.
Dale’s charismatic personality and his family connection to the disease through his grandniece Anna mean he has the people skills and personal knowledge to educate the public about juvenile diabetes.
That being said, Dale can’t win the award without you. The award is given to the nominee who garners the most votes and Dale has some stiff competition.
Please take a moment to vote. It’s as simple as one click. Here’s the link to follow:  http://www.canoekayak.com/ canoe-kayak-awards/vote/spirit-of-adventure/. Voting closes July 20.
Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing. For more information about his speaking engagements, phone 306-661-8975 or visit www.canoetoneworleans.com.

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Dominique Liboiron

Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing.