Larry and Adam Shapiro took a 12-day kayak trip up the Rideau Canal to raise donations for children
A plan two years in the making took a local father and son 202 kilometres from Kingston to Ottawa for the trip of a lifetime. However, it is not only their lives that this 12-day kayak paddle up the Rideau Canal will ultimately touch.
Larry Shapiro, 65, and son Adam, 45, kayaked up the Rideau Canal to help raise donations to send children to Camp Oki, Canada’s only summer camp for children with congenital heart disease. Every $1,000 they raised allowed another child to attend the week-long Muskoka camp.
“Children who go to this camp are more confident when they come home,” says Larry, a Thornhill resident, “because they are able to see that, even with all this equipment in their bodies and medication that they’re taking, they can participate in all the same sports as children who have not had this problem.”
Some children who attend the camp have pacemakers and defibrillators built into their bodies that may make them feel handicapped, he adds.
“It’s not just for fun and games. It’s for them to recognize their abilities that they may not have thought they had.”
Larry says that, with the help of other locals — often customers at the Nortown Foods he manages — and partners at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), they exceeded their original fundraising goal of $2,000 by almost $3,000 even before the duo cast off Aug. 20.
Behind the scenes was Carol Lavine of Toronto, who originally had the idea of combining the Shapiro kayak team’s bucket list dream with helping SickKids. She suggested to Larry Shapiro that they do a “mitzvah,” or good deed, by using the impressive trip to help raise awareness for the cause.
Donations will be accepted until Thanksgiving for next year’s kids, with this summer’s camp having concluded in August.
For more information call SickKids directly at 416-813-6166, ext. 2361.