Man to paddle from Canada to Alaska to raise awareness of mental health issues
Only 12 months ago, Nic Lowe was fighting life-threatening medical conditions as the result of anorexia. Now, the 20-year-old will spend the next nine months inspiring social change and training for a 2200km kayak trip from Canada to Alaska.
Speaking of why he is undergoing such a mammoth task, Mr Lowe said: “There is a pretty big stigma around people talking about mental illness and eating disorders … a lot of people don’t expect males to have eating disorders at all. I would like to start a conversation surrounding it and make it an everyday topic for people to talk about.”
At his worst, Mr Lowe was unable to stand due to his rapidly declining blood pressure and was hospitalised for three weeks so his body could be pumped with nutrition.
After overcoming such mighty obstacles, Mr Lowe returned to a healthy weight in a matter of months thanks to the help of the outpatient unit and the support from his family and friends.
One thing which played a major part in his recovery was kayaking, which he said was an important part of his therapy.
“Part of my recovery from anorexia was a lot of time spent in the kayak out on the water — it just clears your mind being out there,” Mr Lowe said.
Next winter, Mr Lowe will spend eight weeks living out of his kayak as he paddles from island to island along a Canada to Alaska stretch which is well known for its wild weather.
He will also be joined by fellow paddlers at various parts of his expedition, including 2015 Australian Adventurer of the Year Chris Porter.
Mr Lowe, who has previously won a bronze medal at the national kayaking titles in the US and paddled Bass Strait (which separates Tasmania from the Australian mainland) says he is feeling prepared for the upcoming mental and physical challenge.
“I’m the fittest and healthiest I’ve ever been. Life is great now and I’m in a good mindset where I feel like I can make a difference,” he said.
If you would like to follow Mr Lowe’s journey, visit the Facebook page at facebook.com/paddle4mentalhealth, and if you are inspired to take up paddling for yourself, why not take a look at our range of kayaks for sale?