Dozens of people hit the water while overcoming obstacles - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Dozens of people hit the water while overcoming obstacles

STEVENS POINT (WAOW) -- Hitting the water is a popular summertime activity. But for some, it's nearly impossible and only a dream. That's why one local group has taken it into their own hands to make that dream a reality.

"Look at the paddle, there you go," yelled DivePoint Scuba and Adventure Center Owner Carrie Butt. "Oh, you're totally doing it!"

Butt is yelling at Craig McFarlin as he hits the water in his kayak at Mead Park in Stevens Point. The water is a place McFarlin feels free.

"I try different things just to learn," he explained.

That's because McFarlin has to re-learn a lot of things.

"Then this happened, and now I can't do much," McFarlin said grabbing his right arm.

Four years ago the Stevens Point man had a stroke. He lost the ability to move his right arm, his right leg gives him some problems and he says his speech isn't what it used to be.

"Sometimes I just can't get the words out, I can't read," said McFarlin.

But, to him, those are merely speed bumps.

"I was given a life so I try to help people with theirs," he said.

That's why he's here at Mead Park. The adaptive kayak event gives people with disabilities a chance to do something different.

"This world isn't built for people with disabilities so we want to try to make sure that they have as many opportunities to try many different things," said Independent Living Program Director Robyn Dunahee.

McFarlin was just one of more than 100 people that hit the water throughout the day Wednesday. Some went into their kayak's alone, others needed a little assistance. But, no matter what, everyone had the same attitude, never say never.

"They don't need any help out there, they just go," said Dunahee.

Chris Duranceau is trading in her wheelchair for a kayak.

"You don't have to worry about anything, it's really cool to be in the water," said Duranceau.

Duranceau suffers from cerebral palsy. She's been in a wheelchair all her life. But, not today.

"It feels free, you're not confined," said Duranceau.

Organizers say, that's the point.
"It also helps people be a little braver, so trying this event can help them try more new things."
For McFarlin that's a long list. For now though, kayaking is at the top.

"I'll give it my best, with one hand, you bet," he said.

This was the 10th annual adaptive kayak event. Organizers also offered crafts, games and live music.

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