In February, our Facebook fans learned about Katey and Doug, a couple in Washington state who are about to embark on a 1,300 mile kayaking journey to Alaska. It will take 4 months for them to achieve this goal. They are “Kayaking for a Cause”---for Interplast. Recently, Doug wrote an amazing post on why they are doing this. We share it with you below, but we encourage you to follow their blog throughout their journey.
We are often asked why we are kayaking 'for a cause' rather than just kayaking. Katey and I have both done extended trips, and when we travel in a way or place that is less mainstream we always meet people who are curious about what we are doing. We will see a lot less people on this trip than we have on previous ones, but with the aid of the Internet we figure we are still going to meet a lot of people who are curious about what it is like to paddle 1300 miles through such a wild place. After a while, you end up having the same conversations over and over, so we thought maybe we could answer the big question up front.
To many, taking 4 months to travel is beyond decadent (they don't always think about sleeping in a tent, in the rain, and the cold, and the years of thrifty living to save up). But this is what we love and how we live our lives and I believe that helping people is not about dropping everything and risking life, limb, or financial ruin it's about finding a sustainable way to give back in small ways over the course of your life. Our cause is our way of giving back while living our "normal" lives. It would be a lot easier to just kayak and not have to worry about keeping up a blog, fund raising, or disappointing people if we don't reach our goals. But this is something that we can incorporate into our lives right now and something that we wholeheartedly believe in. We thought those who share our interests may also share our desire to help other people. Thus kayaking for a cause.
The logical cause to help promote while kayaking may have been one of the many great environmental causes, someone who focuses on access to clean water, or better yet someone committed to sustainable fisheries. But to us this is more personal. We chose Interplast because we love that they help people who are not helped by the larger programs, and what they do has a lasting impact on a person's life. By providing free reconstructive surgeries, and helping to train doctors to provide the same types of services, they give someone who is often overlooked the chance to live a productive life. Children in poor countries born with deformities like cleft palates or lips may not be able to go to school simply because they look or speak differently.
And burn victims and accident victims live in pain because they have no access to surgeries that would give them back freedom of movement. By providing corrective surgeries, Interplast does much more than what we might think of when we hear 'plastic surgery.' In a poor country, with limited healthcare, a deformity or injury may keep someone from being able to support themselves or their family, or being accepted in their community. Many times, the costs of these surgeries is small, but the impact is always big. Even a small donation can go a long ways towards helping someone.
Katey graduates from Nursing school in four days (yeeha!!). One of her goals in life is to help people in developing countries. Her dream job is to work for someone like Interplast, and to work directly with people in need. This is a way to learn the fundraising side of such endeavors and hopefully will be a valuable experience to apply to her future work.
Personally, I've had my own experience with reconstructive surgery. When I was 8 years old I fell off my bike (this is where my mom would emphatically point out that I was riding no-handed). I knocked out six teeth and broke my jaw on both sides. I recovered fine, but because of my age my jaw didn't grow like it should, and when I was 17 I had to have my upper and lower jaws reconstructed. I could have that surgery because we had health insurance, and we had access to doctors who could do it. I have taken it pretty much for granted, but when I think about what it would be like if I couldn't have had that surgery I know what an impact Interplast could have on someone's life.
So that's why. We think Interplast is important, and it makes us feel good to help raise money and awareness for the work they do. You can help us meet our fundraising goals and give back too by Donating Now.
Interplast sends tremendous thanks to Katey and Doug and wishes them well on their journey