Paddling for a Cause: Without the use of sight

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Now that a person has climbed Mount Everest without the use of sight—that person being famed mountaineer and inspiration to many Erik Weihenmayer—not to mention the other six summits, the ante has definitely been upped for blind adventurers.

Not to worry, however, as 51-year-old Canadian adventurer, Doug Pace, who just happens to be legally blind, plans to paddle the entire length of the Mississippi River this May. Pace also plans to undertake this adventure without the guidance of a sighted person.

Pace’s goal is to be the first blind person to journey solo down the entire length of the Mississippi River. He’ll begin his expedition May 31, 2012, from Lake Itasca, Minnesota—the source of the Mississippi River. This journey is designed to take Pace the entire 2,320-miles of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. He has been training and preparing diligently with approximately 10 years of paddling experience behind him.

Since being declared legally blind in 2000, Pace has not only become an experienced sea kayaker, but also earned a blue belt in Shotkan Karate, and hiked the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce National Parks.

And what is the charitable cause for which he is undertaking this substantial paddling adventure? Raising money for the disease Retinitis Pigmentosa—the cause of Pace’s blindness—and to inspire others in similar situations to find their own personal strength. Perhaps Pace has taken inspiration from other sight-impaired adventurers such as Weihenmayer; and will go on to inspire others.

Pace will be documenting his journey at his official Facebook page: facebook.com/blindkayaker. You may also contact him there to donate to his cause.

–Aaron Bible

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