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Man rows through B'ville to raise awareness

Man rows along canal to raise awareness

By Richard Palmer

To increase awareness of the major threat of prostate cancer to men, a Chicago man is making a 1,700-mile kayak trip from Chicago to New York City.

Aboard his kayak, Skip Ciccarelli passed through Baldwinsville last week coming to the final chapter of his 1,700-mile journey to New York, which he has named Paddling for Prostate in '08.

"By drawing attention to prostrate cancer, I'm hoping more men will get prostate check ups, psa testing and cause more research to focus on prostate cancer which is the second largest killer of men," he said.

The journey began on June 14 when Ciccarelli departed from Lincoln Park Boat Club in Chicago and began paddling his way toward New York City, where he plans to arrive on Aug. 8. To achieve this goal, he has to paddle about 40 miles a day. With time built in for inclement weather, the entire paddling journey is expected to last 54 days.

His days begin early, but the most formidable part is over - sailing through the Great Lakes. Crossing to Michigan's Upper Peninsula, he made his way through the Mackinac Straits and then down Michigan's east coast to Lake Huron. From there, he paddled down the St. Clair River (which borders the U.S. and Canada), through Lake St. Clair, then down the Detroit River to Lake Erie.

Traveling east on Lake Erie, he continued to Buffalo. He entered the canal at Tonawanda to begin his journey through the Erie Canal towards the Hudson River, then on to New York City.

Ciccarelli said he hopes kayak clubs, cancer support groups, men's groups and individuals will join him and help get the word out about both his journey and prostate cancer awareness. He said he would be delighted to have fellow kayakers paddle with him for stretches along the route. Other supporters can simply wave from shore to encourage him along the way.

Himself a prostate cancer survivor, Ciccarelli said he has a passion for kayaking.

"I have competed in various 5-, 10-, 30- and 70-mile kayak competitions," he said. "Because I am a husband, father of three adult children and a high school teacher, I have been through many varied experiences; but perhaps one of the most profound is that I have come to understand how little men seem to know about their bodies."

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