Paddleboarder aims to be first person with disabilities to cross Great Lakes

Paddleboarder aims to be first person with disabilities to cross Great Lakes
Published: Jul. 3, 2022 at 10:00 AM PDT
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DULUTH, Minn. (KJBR/Gray News) – Mike Shoreman, a paddleboarder from Canada is attempting to be the first person with disabilities to cross each of the five Great Lakes.

When Shoreman was diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome in 2018, he said his heart sank. He was a paddleboard instructor at the time, according to KBJR.

“After I received the diagnosis. I stood in an EMT doctor’s office and I remember, like, I just had tears streaming down my face and he said, ‘Your paddle boarding is done. You’re never going to paddleboard again.’”

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is a neurological condition that can cause permanent damage to one’s vision, hearing and muscles.

For Shoreman, the disease also affected the one thing he used every time he stepped onto a paddleboard: his balance.

“For me, when I turn my head from side to side or up and down,” he said. “I get very dizzy. It’s like a carousel inside my head. And in the initial stages, when I was walking, I couldn’t even walk in a straight line”

However, Shoreman was determined to not only paddleboard again but to become the first person with disabilities to do it across all five Great Lakes.

“I thought, ‘Okay, well we can, we can set out to do these crossings. I just have to make sure that I’m strong enough to be able to do five back to back all in one summer,’” he said.

After months of training, Shoreman started his journey on Lake Erie, on May 29th, becoming the first person with disabilities to accomplish the feat.

It was an inspiring moment, but Shoreman still had four other lakes to go.

“10 days later, I set out to do Lake Huron and it took me 28 hours and 22 minutes which was brutal,” he said.

Now, Shoreman will take on Lake Superior, a task he says he and his team are prepared for.

“We’ve got first aid trainers on the boat, we’ve got people who know what my nutrition and my diet is going to be like,” he said.

It’s all part of a monumental journey, but one he hopes can inspire people far beyond the Great Lakes.

“People with disabilities are capable of achieving things when people believe in them and I hope it inspires kids to dream big,” Shoreman said.

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