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Florida paddlers unite in their fight against cancer

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According to Deborah Buckhalter of the Jackson County Floridian reported that on June 2, 2014 “The 6th annual Canoeing for the Fight Against Cancer paddle will be held this Saturday, June 7, with launch at roughly 9 a.m. from Spring Creek Park in Marianna, Florida.”

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One of the organizers, Shelia Hayes, told Buckhalter that participants who wish can gather just ahead of the hour at Magnolia Bridge three miles downstream so they can park their cars near the end of the paddling event and catch a ride to the launch point with her husband, Shorty. That way, they can simply depart the water, get in their vehicles and head straight out after the paddle is done.

Hayes added that Money is raised very simply, the participants make a donation to take part. Most paddlers donate $20. However, Hayes emphasized, any contribution is welcome.

“Just bring what you can,” Hayes explained. “The main thing is to come out and be part of it, maybe in honor of someone you love.”

According to Buckhalter, “Hayes organized the event in honor of her mother, Shelia Johns, after whom she was named. Mrs. Johns who is 73-years-old will be a participant in the kayaking event. She has participated in every for the past five years.”

Shelia Hayes explained that her mother is now cancer free. However, “In 2007 was diagnosed with breast cancer and had 15 lymph nodes removed as part of the battle to save her life.”

Mrs. Johns believes her recovery is because of her faith and the support of her family and doctors. “I know it’s because of Jesus and the good health care that I received that I’m still here,” Johns said. “Without the good Lord, my children and my doctors, I wouldn’t have come through it.”

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