Kelowna woman raises over $20K for autism awareness

Paddling for autism

It may only be March but one Kelowna resident is making her way to Okanagan Lake every day to paddle.

Kim Inglis' cousin Tyler suddenly died last year, leaving behind a young child with autism. Inglis has made the decision to paddle 365 kilometres over the month to raise money and awareness for Autism Canada.

“Tyler, for obvious reasons, had been very passionate about raising funds and awareness for autism, and one of the things that he had been planning to do before he passed away was to create a large-scale boxing event to raise funds and awareness, but he unfortunately passed away before he was able to do that,” said Inglis.

“Tyler meant a lot to me and I wanted to do something to honour him but also honour his legacy and what he was trying to achieve here. Because I am not going to be boxing, I thought I need to do it in a sport where I can feasibly do it.”

Inglis has been paddling for years, but tells Castanet she still had to do a little bit of training before committing to paddle 356 kilometres across over a month.

Inglis has been paddling or rowing at home on not-so-sunny days since March 1, already covering more than 330 kilometres since the start of her campaign, using her cousin Tyler as a source of inspiration to keep pushing herself and moving forward.

“Definitely what keeps pushing me is Tyler, thinking about him and the ultimate goal here of wanting to really make an impact, so that’s definitely what pushes me... The fundraising goal for this year is $25,000... I am currently sitting at about $23,000, but the more the merrier," she said.

Originally meant to be a one-time thing, Inglis tells Castanet she now plans to go bigger and better with her Making Waves for Autism campaign in future years.

“What I realized with that is that the paddling and rowing world is a really big community and I thought there’s an opportunity here to make this a much larger event," she said.

I am going to have paddlers and rowers joining from all across Canada to do this and I am going to have different distances, different times, different teams, kids options and that sort of thing to make it more accessible to everyone and we as a paddling community can really make a difference."

Inglis will wrap up her campaign on World Autism Acceptance Day, April 2 in Kelowna and has made donations possible through her Making Waves for Autism website.

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