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Fundraiser born of a passion to paddle

Her husband, however, wasn't as enthusiastic. Since it's hard to maneuver a canoe with just one person inside, Thompson eventually decided to try taking her large dog out with her.

"He didn't like that," she said with a laugh.

So then she bought a kayak paddle and tried to steer the canoe with it, sitting in the middle. When that still proved a challenge, she decided to just invest in a kayak, and she's spent hours on the water with it ever since.

"It's just become my passion," she said.

It's a passion that is shared by many in the area. Thompson said most of the people who participate in Paddling for a Cure are from Schenectady County, but everyone is welcome.

"We had a whole family that came from Fultonville last year," she said. "It's really spreading by word of mouth."

People who turn out this year can enjoy the baked goods the auxiliary sells, along with prizes in a variety of categories and raffles, including one for a new kayak.

Beyond that, they can enjoy a festive atmosphere while honoring people who have battled cancer. There will be a memory board where people can write the names of loved ones affected by the disease.

"The event turns out to be a really wonderful day of celebration," Thompson said. "It's not a gloomy day at all."

She hopes the event can also provide some inspiration for people to hold their own fundraisers, noting that the auxiliary has only 25 members but has raised more than $25,000 through the event in the past two years.

"People might think, 'Maybe I can do this, too,'" she said.

Pre-registration is suggested but not required. The cost is $10, $5 of which goes to the American Canoe Society for insurance. For information, call Thompson at 399-0490 or Boyle at 399-8048, or visit www.alplaus.org.""

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