Echuca marks end to gruelling Paddle for Friedreich Ataxia

By Ivy Jensen

Eight mates paddled into Echuca on Saturday, marking the end of an exhausting 210km charity paddle along the Murray River.

Melbourne’s Peter Evans and seven of his mates start upstream in Cobram on Wednesday, October 23, to as part of The Paddle for Friedreich Ataxia which raises awareness and money for the disease.

Three days later, they arrived in Echuca; raising more than $42,000 along the way, which will go towards research into the incurable and debilitating disease.

This brings the amount raised by the crew to almost $200,000 in eight years.

Mr Evans started the paddle with work colleagues in support of his two nieces, Samantha, 26, and Jamie-Lee Dwyer, 28, who were diagnosed with the disease 16 years ago.

It is an inherited disease which causes progressive damage to the nervous system, resulting in serious symptoms, including speech and mobility problems.

“The girls continue to inspire with us with the way they live their lives are although their disease gives them challenges every day, they are living independently in their Youngcare apartment and they continue to have the very caring staff wrapped around their fingers,” Mr Evans said.

“FARA does not receive State or Commonwealth Government support and relies largely on the family and friends of Friedreich Ataxia patients and generous businesses within Australia and New Zealand to fund its research programs.

“Although there has been significant progress towards treatments, today there is no cure.”

Mr Evans thanked Barmah Hotel’s social club, who raised money for the crew through its raffle, and Morning Glory River Resort for providing accommodation, as well as East Coast Kayaking.

●To donate, go to the fundraising page.