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VIDEO: Kelowna woman paddles for autism

A Kelowna woman is paddling with a purpose.

Kim Inglis is well on her way to completing her pledge of 365 km of paddling this month to benefit Autism Canada.

A cousin of hers, Tyler, died last August, leaving behind a young autistic son, Ryder.

Tyler had planned to stage a boxing event to raise money and awareness for autism, so Inglis decided to pick up the torch.

But she's never seen herself as much of a boxer.

<who> Photo Credit: Contributed

"I'm not going to be boxing," she said with a laugh.

Instead, she decided to launch a paddling fundraiser.

"I've created a fundraiser event called Making Waves for Autism," said Inglis.

"It's a lot of paddling," she explained.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

"I did have to train up for this. You can't just decide to jump in the boat and do 365 kilometres."

Donations go directly to Autism Canada to support their programs.

A big issue for individuals and families dealing with autism is the long wait to see a specialist.

"It can take upwards of four years to get a diagnosis," said Inglis. "It's definitely a big issue."

She has been clocking some kilometres at home on a rowing machine, but weather permitting, she's been out on the lake in her sleek and speedy surf ski kayak.

<who>Photo credit: NowMedia </who>

"When is wavy out they are extra fun because they're designed essentially to surf the waves."

Her efforts have already raised over $20,000 toward her goal of $25,000 for the month-long effort.

Inglis not only plans to paddle again next year, but she's hoping to grow it into a national event.

<who> Photo Credit: Contributed

"Different paddle clubs, canoe clubs, rowing clubs etc. across the country will be joining in," she said.

And she added that the feedback on the idea has been really positive.

"In fact, a lot of the clubs have programs for autistic kids so it's a really good fit."

Inglis plans to finish her last kilometre on April 2, which is World Autism Day.

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