The Great Lakes are called great for a reason: they’re absolutely massive. And so is the distance between each of them. But one Ontario family isn’t intimidated by the 2,000 km distance connecting the Great Lakes together.
Lori Sheppard, her daughter Regan and two of her nieces are about to do something incredible. They’re about to swim in each of the Great Lakes on Lori’s Birthday. You may think that this isn’t really a big deal–maybe you’ve even been to all of them. But there’s more to this challenge than that. They’ll be completing this task in just one day to raise money for lupus (an auto-immune disease where the body attacks itself). Your heart just melted, right?
Sheppard was inspired to take on this challenge and raise money for lupus after both of her brothers passed away from the disease within a year of each other.
“They both had Lupus for most of their lives,” said Sheppard. “It’s sometimes called an invisible disease because it’s an internal autoimmune disease that causes a lot of organ damage and sensitivities to the sun. They really can’t have a complete and what we would call a normal life because of the suffering and medication.”
Her older brother Ken loved boating, so Sheppard explained that travelling to the Great Lakes was an automatic decision. The journey will start on August 29th with Lake Superior at 6:30 a.m., and the women will then travel to Lake Michigan, Erie, Ontario and Huron in that order.
The women initially wanted to raise $2,000 for the 2,000 km they’d be travelling and split the money between Lupus Ontario and The Huntington Society of Canada, but donations have already passed that goal. In fact, they’ve raised almost an additional thousand dollars. You can contribute to the cause on their GoFundMe page here.
“As we celebrate a day that marks years of life and good health, we will try to do a little good for those who struggle daily with health issues related to these two diseases,” explained Sheppard.
Check out their Facebook page to get live updates from during the trip.