AUSTIN (KXAN) — With paddles in hand, stroke after stroke, and for 21 miles straight, more than 200 people paddled the full length of Lake Austin Monday morning to help raise money for mental health services for those impacted by cancer.
Still under the early morning’s cover of darkness when they set off, the group is a team of super fundraisers who know challenges cancer presents all too well.
It’s the twelfth year that paddlers have made the journey from Mansfield Dam to the Tom Miller dam as part of the TYLER’S Dam That Cancer event.
Each paddler raised more than $3,000 for the Flatwater Foundation, which has paid for more than 48,000 hours of therapy since its inception.
“It’s just a good way to get a lot of the community together, raise some money, and do something outdoors,” said volunteer David Callejas. “It correlates very well with Flatwater’s mission.”
While $3,000 is the minimum, 16 paddlers raised more than $10,000, including one who raised $28,466.
Collectively the group raised $1,079,795 for Flatwater, exceeding their goal of $1,000,000 and last year’s total of more than $830,000.
“It starts early morning before the sun is even up,” Callejas said. “They’re getting started, a lot of them have dedications to loved ones that they’ve either lost or are affected by cancer. We have a lot of survivors that actually paddle as well. Then it turns quickly into joy, and toward the end, it’s just a lot of pride to be able to finish and accomplish as a team, such a long journey.”