LONG PADDLE: Andy Owen and 12-year-old leukemia sufferer Xavier Slezak.
LONG PADDLE: Andy Owen and 12-year-old leukemia sufferer Xavier Slezak. Eugene Tanaquabumps

Paddler stands tall for cancer - on a 1000km trip

INSPIRATIONAL Hollywood stuntman Andy Owen is travelling 1000km on a paddleboard to teach his kids a lesson and raise money for cancer.

The Glenview-based father-of-two reaches Mudjimba beach tomorrow, capping off a journey through the surf that started at North Bondi.

The Mudjimba Surf Lifesaving Club member has been raising money for people affected by cancer and he hopes to set an example for his teenage children Sommer, 17, and Darcy, 15, who have accompanied him.

"I want my kids to know the world is not always about self-indulgence. It's about helping others where and when we can," Mr Owen said.

The former boxer and professional driver has been travelling along the coastline since June 22, inspired by two people close to him diagnosed with cancer.

The mammoth task has taken its toll, but Mr Owens believes even his epic journey cannot compare to the suffering of those affected by cancer.

"This is not about me. It's about the sufferers, their families and their friends who are doing it tough," he said.

Mr Owen, who has worked on The Great Gatsby and Life of Pi movies, got involved with fundraising when close friend and fellow stuntman Nigel Harbach was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of leukemia that affects normal blood cell production in the bone marrow.

Originally, he set the goal of raising $10 for every kilometre paddled, but he re-evaluated that goal after meeting Xavier Slezak, a 12-year-old North Bondi nipper who was diagnosed with leukemia recently.

Mr Owens aimed to raise $100 for each kilometre he travelled while paddling up the coast, stopping at 26 locations and doing events for the Leukaemia Foundation.

The voyage will finish tomorrow at midday with a sausage sizzle, beach volleyball and live music at Mudjimba beach as paddlers from across the Coast take to the water for the final kilometres.

To donate go to: www.indiegogo.com/projects/seize-the-day-big-paddle-for-leukaemia or deposit into the Leukaemia Foundation's official account (BSB: 633 000, Account number: 144509411)


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