Jasmin Muratagic is preparing to paddle 300 miles across Lake Difenbaker and down the Saskatchewan River in Canada this summer, to raise funds and awareness for Cayman’s National Council of Voluntary Organisations.
Mr. Muratagic, a long time resident of Grand Cayman, will be joining his friend Chad Guenter in Canada on this arduous eight day journey. Mr. Guenter will be making the journey on a Stand Up Paddleboard and Mr. Muratagic will accompany him on the support raft/kayak, which will carry their tents, clothing, food and safety gear.
Mr. Guenter, a firefighter based in Canada, completed the same journey for the first time last year. The challenge, titled Keep Calm and Paddle On, was intended to raise funds and awareness for those suffering from mental illness. Being a keen kayaker, when Mr. Muratagic heard that the person paddling the support raft was unable to take part again this year, he offered to take his place.
“But I said, if I am going to do this, I am going to find my own cause, one in Cayman, that I am doing it for,” he said. “I talked to friends about worthy causes. One of my friends is married to one of the directors of the NCVO so I got in touch with them and when I found out about their foster home and saw it, I knew that was my cause.”
“These kids have been through the worst, and they are growing up in a foster home. I don’t care where they are from, kids are the future of the world and we have to do what we can to help them,” he added.
The duo will begin their journey on August 27 and each day will paddle from sunrise to sunset. They will not pass any towns or villages along the way and will camp on the banks of the river at night.
The paddling itself will be challenging, said Mr. Muratagic, as on the lake they may be trying to paddle head on into the wind. The river, on the other hand, poses its own hazards in the form of eddies, sandbanks and fallen trees that they will have to be constantly on the lookout for.
Mr. Muratagic hopes to raise awareness through this challenge of the existence of the NCVO foster home and its shortage of funding and also to raise funds for it through sponsorship and voluntary contributions.
Heineken and Jacques Scott are on board as official sponsors and Mr. Muratagic has opened a dedicated bank account so that anybody wanting to make a donation, of any size, may do so.
In the run up to the epic paddle, there will also be a number of fundraising events on the Grand Cayman. At the time of writing these included an Open Mic night at Lone Star scheduled for 26 June and a Sunday Funday boat party on 28 July. Proceeds from both events will benefit NCVO.