Sunday, December 8th, 2019

Heroic Cancer Victim Paddles for Charity

Published on June 18, 2015 by   ·   No Comments

Jaw-droppingly awesome, all round good guy, Charlie Howden stand up paddled the Pacific coast of Costa Rica recently to raise money for the William Guy Forbeck Research Foundation (WGFRF) cancer charity.

He’s been planning the trip since 2013 but he was delayed somewhat when he was (in a cruel twist of fate) diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer while in training for the 450-mile journey.

A keen surfer, Charlie was introduced to SUP in 2010 when he was working on the yachts in Florida and immediately loved it. He started SUP racing then after winning those races, decided that he would like to do something a bit more challenging, and the idea of a Costa Rica expedition surfaced.

HeroicCancer_0001_Charlie Howden (1)

Originally from Eastbourne, Charlie is now resident in Fort Lauderdale and it is there that he is receiving his treatment.

Once diagnosed he was determined to beat the disease and responded well to the chemo and radiotherapy. After a gruelling year he went into remission and immediately started planning the trip again. Unfortunately the remission was short lived and in January the cancer returned and so Charlie went back to hospital and back to his chemo regime and the trip went on the back burner again.

Most people would have given up at that point, it surely wasn’t meant to be, but Charlie decided that come hell or high water he would make the trip that he had been planning for years and, on 16 May, he set off on the journey.

With only two weeks free between his chemo treatments (most people on chemo would spend that week in bed) he had to get to Costa Rica and back and complete the his “Paddle for Cancer”.

His original plan was to SUP the 450 miles of the Pacific coast of Costa Rica from the Nicaraguan northern border to its southern border with Panama. But with only 11 days in the country this had to be curtailed somewhat. As conditions were less than ideal Charlie managed 200 miles in 11 days, a total of 18 miles a day – which is literally amazing. He immediately headed back to Florida and more chemo, but by God he did it.

HeroicCancer_0000_Charlie Howden (2)

The total raised so far stands at a little under 14,000 USD, and he’d like to raise 50,000.

The money raised will go to the WGFRF, which was established in 1985 by George and Jennifer Forbeck in honour of their son, Billy Guy Forbeck, who succumbed to neuroblastoma at age 11. Their mission is to promote advances in the field of oncology, particularly paediatric oncology, by shortening the cancer research timetable.

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