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Kayak Marco 24: The Mission Begins

By Natalie Strom

natalie@coastalbreezenews.com

KAYAKA second attempt at setting a new world record for the longest consecutive time period of continuously paddling in a kayak is in the works. One year ago, Steven Banks, owner of Dreamlander Tours on Marco Island, attempted this feat, but his paddle ended prematurely due to extremely harsh weather conditions. The plan was, and is, to paddle 360 degrees around Marco Island in 24 hours. This year, Banks hopes for clear skies and generous souls as he attempts this record in the name of charity.

On March 30th, Banks will begin his paddle at 4:30 PM from the docks at the Sunset Cove Holiday Inn Resort located at …., right next to the Winn Dixie Supermarket. He plans to return 24 hours later (if not sooner) to the same location on March 31st – Easter Sunday.

But before Banks begins his personal kayak challenge, his goal is to raise $10,000. Not for himself, his equipment or insurance on his life due to the risks of this voyage, but for three specific charities that are close to him, his family and his employees.

The three charities Banks and his Dreamlander team are sponsoring through Kayak Marco 24 are:

The Uriostegui Family

The Uriostegui family lives in Cuaravaca, Mexico and has shared a close relationship with Banks through their one son who lives in the United States. “Our first needs are going to a sixty year old woman, Leonarda Urestiougi, who is progressively losing her sight, and her son, Roberto, who is epileptic and has five to six seizures a day. Treatment in Mexico hasn’t been able to help them, so we are in the process of getting them immigration visas that are around $3,000 a piece to bring them here in order to get them proper medical care,” states Banks.

Partner’s For Hope in Malawi, Africa

Partners in Hope is a medical center that offers free treatment for adults and children that have the HIV and AIDs virus, as well as other services such as education and in some cases, providing care for local orphans.

Wishes and Wells

“This is the motto of our new goals for 2013,” explains Banks. “The ‘Wishes’ comes in the form of our monthly program for terminally ill children and their families. We have an open invitation to all families in Marco with a child that is suffering from any terminal illness, to come and spend the day with Dreamlander Tours.” Children are offered the chance to go on one of the many Dolphins and Friends Tours that Dreamlander offers, including kayak tours, paddle board tours boat tours and wave runner adventures. “It is a great honor to help these amazing children and their families have a wonderful day with the dolphins and forget about life for a few hours.”

The ‘Wells’ portion of Dreamlander’s 2013 motto refers to, “our ambitious goal to build a minimum of one fresh water well in a third world country every year. One well can provide water for up to 1,000 people a day for up to 20 years,” states Banks.

Director of Tour Operations for Dreamlander, Captain Joshua Erickson, has taken the reigns on this project. “Children are currently dying due too lack of access to clean, fresh, drinkable water. That truth alone is a tradgedy. We hope to lend a hand in putting an end to the senseless loss of many lives,” explains Erickson. The cost to build one well is anywhere between $15,000 and $20,000.

With a modest goal of $10,000 for Kayak Marco 24, Banks and Erickson realize this won’t be enough to cover all three charities, let alone one well. That’s why Dreamlander Tours donates $2 from every tour of any kind towards these charities.

With a motto that states: “Build our business to bless others and our business will be blessed,” Dreamlander Tours certainly keeps its word.

Corporate, business and private sponsorships of the event are being sought. An after-party raffle featuring dozens of great prizes is in the works. Prizes include lodging at local resorts, wave runner tours, dining certificates and much more. To learn more about corporate or business sponsorship programs, to get more information, or to volunteer, please contact Steven Banks at 239-240-2117 or by email at dreamlandertours@yahoo.com. To learn more about Dreamlander Tours, its philosophy of giving back and adventures offered, visit www.dreamlandertours.com.


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