Raleigh firefighters paddle 193 miles for a cause

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018
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Raleigh firefighters will kayak a 193-mile trek from Raleigh to New Bern.

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- A group of Raleigh firefighters will kayak a grueling four-day 193-mile trek from Raleigh to New Bern on August 15 to raise money for a nonprofit called Paddling for Pennies.

"We raise money for firefighters, first responders, military, and veterans," explained East Wake Firefighter and Paddling for Pennies founder Allen Williford. "Our motto is trying to give back to those who gave all."

Williford said the group is working to raise money and awareness about firefighters and cancer, which is the number one cause of death for firefighters in America.

"A lot of people don't know this but cancers run rampant in the fire service," Williford said. "Firefighters are getting cancer at far greater rates than they ever have been just from the carcinogens but, the state of North Carolina only recognizes four cancers for line of duty benefits," Williford said.

This year's journey will honor Will Willis. Will was an engineer with the Asheville fire department. He lost his battle with Kidney cancer on his 34th birthday.

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Money raised will go to the Willis family and other families that Paddling for Pennies has helped over the years.

The group is asking for a penny a mile donation making the minimum donation $1.93.

"The money we raise we try to make it impactful for the family," Williford said.

The group will begin at Falls Lake Canoe Ramp on August 15 at 12 p.m. and will finish their route in New Bern on August 19 at 12 p.m.