Former Waitaki Boys’ High School teacher Russell Leader will soon fly halfway around the world – and paddle hundreds of kilometres down a river – to raise money for charity.
Mr Leader, along with friends Ben Macgregor (2002 Waitaki head boy) and Michael Burgess, plans to canoe the length of the Rhine River throughout Europe in an effort to raise money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
Supporting the charity is a cause close to Mr Leader’s heart.
Last year, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer himself, but was fortunate enough to overcome the disease.
“Having experienced this disease myself, and having fortunately succeeded in defeating it, I have become very aware of all aspects of this common but deadly phenomenon.”
It had always been an ambition of Mr Leader’s to row the Rhine River.
After overcoming his battle with cancer, he had an epiphany and decided to use the dream trip as an opportunity to help others.
“I thought it was a good idea.”
It was hoped the men could fundraise a substantial amount of money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
Originally, the fundraising goal had been set at $1000, but since achieving that target, the goal had been bumped to $5000.
Mr Leader was confident the fundraising effort would be a success.
The canoeists will begin their voyage at the source of the river in Switzerland, from where they would canoe downstream through France, Germany and finally to Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
The trip would start in late July and finish in early August.
“I’m pretty excited for it,” Mr Leader said.
One of the biggest challenges for the crew would be to avoid collisions with any oncoming boats.