Kayaking the Continent for pancreatic cancer

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An image of Anna Blackwell and Kate Culverwell, who will be kayaking the continent in aid of Pancreatic Cancer Action.

Anna Blackwell, 24, and Kate Culverwell, 19, both from Oxford, will be setting out on a record breaking, and world first, tandem kayak expedition from England to the Black Sea.

The 4000 Kilometre adventure will start in April 2018 and is expected to take about 4 months to complete to help raise vital funds and awareness for Pancreatic Cancer Action. Pancreatic cancer is the UK’s 5th biggest cancer killer. The survival rate is just 5% which is the lowest of any cancer.

In 2015, Kate very sadly lost her father, David Culverwell, to pancreatic cancer. She knew she wanted to take on a challenge that both raised funds for a pancreatic cancer charity and did justice to her dad. She eventually landed on an idea: kayaking from England to the Black Sea.

Kate came up with the idea of the challenge when thinking of something she could do to raise awareness of the disease, but she needed to find someone who was going to join her in her tandem kayak.

An online search found the perfect candidate, a keen adventurer, Anna, who lived just a few miles away and had in fact attended the same school as Kate.

What makes this challenge even more incredible is that it is not only a route that has never been attempted by kayak before but while paddling, Kate and Anna will also be contributing to the research of FreshWater Watch, an Earthwatch research project investigating the health of global freshwater ecosystems.

An image of a map showing Anna and Kate's route that they will be kayaking across for Pancreatic Cancer Action.

Kate says, “When I first came up with the idea everyone thought I was completely mad but I stuck to it and it’s really nice to now see it all coming together.”

“It’s going to be quite a powerful journey for me. I think that if you have a reason for doing something then you can do anything you put your mind to.”


Pancreatic Cancer Action is committed to working towards earlier diagnosis of the disease so that surgery, currently the only cure, is made available to the sufferer.  The charity fund research into early diagnosis, provide medical education programmes, and launch awareness campaigns.

Ali Stunt, Founder of Pancreatic Cancer Action, said: “We are delighted that Kate and Anna are giving their time to support Pancreatic Cancer Action in such an incredible challenge. It is lovely that you are completing this in memory of David and are helping to raise awareness and funds for this disease at the same time.”

“We wish you the best of luck on your travels and we are incredibly excited to follow your journey.”

If anyone is interested in sponsoring the challenge please contact them by or to sponsor the adventurers visit their fundraising page here to help them reach their £50,000 target!

For more information go to kayakingthecontinent.com