Wednesday, 13 August 2014 09:45

Who do you want to be when you grow up?

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I have many heroes. One of them is my friend Dale Sanders. He’s who I want to be when I grow up, and by grow up I mean when I’m 80 years old.


Dale lives in Memphis, Tennessee. He has a massive beard that would put Santa’s to shame. He likes to call himself the Grey Beard Adventurer. Next year in June, he’ll turn 80 and he’ll begin an adventure that will earn him a spot in the Guinness Book of Records. Dale will become the oldest person to canoe the entire length of the Mississippi River in one continuous trip.
After a birthday celebration in his home town, he’ll drive to the river’s source at Lake Itasca, Minnesota. From there, he’ll paddle south on the Mighty Mississippi and eventually reach the Gulf of Mexico 2,340 miles away. 
Paddling a canoe that was specially designed for long distance river expeditions, Dale anticipates a daily average of 30 miles. The trip will take about 80 paddling days and he should arrive in September.
Dale hopes to raise awareness and funds to help fight Type 1 juvenile diabetes, a life-long disease for which there is no cure. His 10-year-old grandniece, Anna, suffers from this disease and needs an artificial pancreas in order to live a relatively normal life. Her parents live in the United States and cannot afford the high cost. Dale has taken it upon himself to raise a portion of the funds needed for this procedure.
To do that, Dale will stop in ports, towns and cities along the river banks telling his story. His goal is to reach out personally and online for donations to support mile for mile donations from $8 to $80. This 2,340-mile odyssey will take him through several major cities where he already has a network of “river angels” to locally support his efforts. He hopes his fellow paddlers, friends, family and followers will donate a minimum of $8 up to $80, representing his age and the number of days he will paddle.
While on the river, Dale will communicate with the outside world primarily through Facebook and his website. He’s exploring the possibility of video streaming.
For the next several months, Dale will study his logistics and destinations as well as work out kinks in his gear.
I think Dale’s project is heroic for many reasons. He has given himself a lofty goal and is on a mission to help a loved-one. His planned river journey is also very inspiring, especially given his age. Now you understand why I want to be like Dale when I grow up.
(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.)

Read 4686 times Last modified on Wednesday, 13 August 2014 09:47
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.