Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon. Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada
Jennifer will be launching from Toronto’s waterfront, near the Hospital for Sick Children. Her route will follow the north shore of Lake Ontario and continue up the Rideau Lake System, with her finish line at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). The journey is approximately 300 nautical miles and will take between two to four weeks, depending on the weather.
Jennifer’s August 1 announcement could not be better timed, aligned with the start of RE/MAX Month of Miracles. Each year, the RE/MAX organization takes the month of August to recognize its charitable partner, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) and highlight some of the courageous kids who benefit from CMNH-funded programs. It’s also a time to celebrate the RE/MAX network’s generous Miracle Home Agents, who donate a portion of their sales commissions, while encouraging more RE/MAX agents to join the Miracle Home Program.
Jennifer’s ambitious endeavour was inspired by Wasaga Beach, Ontario-based agent Bruce Johnson, of RE/MAX By The Bay Brokerage, who was honoured for his charitable work in 2019 with a Good Neighbour Award, presented by the National Association of Realtors.
“To say that this has been inspired by Bruce Johnson and the Motorcycle for Miracles journeys would be an understatement,” says Jennifer. In 2016, Jennifer was able to “level up” to Champion Agent status and sponsor a section of Bruce’s and his daughter Holly’s ride across Canada in support of CMN. Fast-forward to 2018, when Bruce announced he and Holly would continue their journey of giving with the Ends of the Earth Ride – a six-month, 15,800-mile trek that took them from the northernmost point in Canada to the southern-most tip of South America. Again, Jennifer was honoured to be a Champion Agent.
Jennifer’s goal with Paddle For Miracles is twofold – to raise funds and awareness.
“It is now 2021 and we have not been able to champion for CMN through networking and conferences for almost two years. Like many others, I have missed these opportunities and know that while COVID-19 has changed so much, the need for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has continued,” Jennifer says. “I reached out to Bruce and told him that I had the crazy idea to paddle from Toronto to Ottawa on my stand-up paddle board. In true ‘Bruce fashion,’ he embraced the idea and Paddle for Miracles was born!”
Jennifer would like to see Toronto-area donations directed to the Alyssa Rae Johnson Foundation, in memory of Bruce’s daughter, Alyssa, who was born with a condition known as omphalocele and, despite the best efforts of the doctors at SickKids Hospital in Toronto, suffered cardiac arrest and passed away in 1998, just 20 days after her birth. All other donations will be made to donators’ local children’s hospitals. Jennifer aims to encourage not just one-time donations, but continued giving through RE/MAX’s Miracle Home Program.
Jennifer has been boarding for more than four years, mostly on Clear Lake in Emsdale, where her cottage is located. She has also boarded Lake Ontario and Sturgeon Lake in The Kawarthas. “I was looking for my ‘what’s next’ after stepping down from managing a RE/MAX office at the end of April,” she says. “Combining my love of paddle boarding and supporting CMN seemed like a logical combination.”
If you’d like to learn more or donate, visit Paddle for Miracles.
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