Paddling for the Leukaemia Foundation

LEUKAEMIA has touched many across Australia, including one determined former local.

Maarten de Wilt, now living in Canberra but formerly of Naracoorte, is paddling down the River Murray to raise funds for the Leukaemia Foundation.

He is doing it after losing a good friend to the disease recently.

"It's a good way to give back and help out," Maarten said. "This is my way of doing it."

Maarten's trip started at Khancoban and he aims to finish at the mouth of the river near Goolwa, an expected 40-day trip.

He was just over halfway when he spoke to the Herald earlier this week, just out of Mildura.

"The body is sort of getting fatigued," Maarten said. "Which I expected."

He is doing the trip alone, meeting up with friends every now and again.

A friend, Ronan, joined him paddling but had to retire as it got too much to handle.

A typical day, Maarten said, was 7-13 hours of paddling (depending on weather) - 30-100km in a day - followed by camping by the river.

It is hard work, battling the elements, Maarten recalled one day where his phone "packed it in" because of the heat of the day.

Maarten admitted to throwing himself in the "deep end" with this trip.

"I sort of just bought the kayak and started paddling," he told the Herald when asked about his training for the event.

"I'd done about 150km before I started this trip."

As the trip is funded completely out of his own pocket, 100 per cent of the money Maarten raises will go towards the Leukaemia Foundation.

To donate go to`

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