PHOTOS: Paddlers hit the waters of Oak Bay to support families battling pediatric cancer

Kayaks and canoes were scattered all around Willows Beach on Saturday (Sept. 10) before paddlers took to the water. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Kayaks and canoes were scattered all around Willows Beach on Saturday (Sept. 10) before paddlers took to the water. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
Former preschool teacher Barb McLeod gets ready for a day out on the ocean. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Former preschool teacher Barb McLeod gets ready for a day out on the ocean. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
Team Novak, who won last year’s best costume contest, shows off their festive group costume. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Team Novak, who won last year’s best costume contest, shows off their festive group costume. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
Participants prepare to get paddling. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Participants prepare to get paddling. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
A canoe from the Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club sits on the beach. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)A canoe from the Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club sits on the beach. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
The coveted best team costume trophy. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)The coveted best team costume trophy. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)

Nearly 100 paddlers hit the waters off Oak Bay and Saanich in support of families with children facing cancer.

Participants of all ages arrived at the beach early Saturday (Sept. 10) for the annual Paddle for Health from Willows to Gyro beach and back.

This year’s event reached its $20,000 fundraising goal for the Island Kids Cancer Association – an organization supporting hundreds of kids and families on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

For grandmother and former preschool teacher, Barb McLeod, childhood cancer is something that hits close to home. That’s why she’s been paddling for the last several years.

“It’s for the kids, and I’ll do it every single year that I’m able,” she said.

Susan Kerr, executive director at the Island Kids Cancer Association, said the event isn’t only about raising money to support families, it’s about raising much-needed awareness.

“This paddle is instrumental for our community coming together for this cause,” she said. “It’s just basically having fun on the water, getting together and really showing community spirit.”

ALSO READ: PHOTOS: Sooke Fall Fair brings community back together after 2-year break


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