Morning Call | Gary R. Blockus
Larry Rafes is hoping to make a splash in August, a big one.
Rafes, who recently turned 60, is planning a daunting kayaking trip, paddling from the Lehigh River in Allentown, into the Delaware River at Easton, and then all the way to the Atlantic Ocean in Cape May, N.J.
The 200-mile-plus trip, which kicks off Aug. 17, should take 10 days, with several special stops for rallies along the way. The paddling trip Rafes is undertaking is less about him and more about others, but still very personal.
The Make-A-Splash sojourn is Rafes' way of showing gratitude while raising awareness for organ donation. The trip is Rafes' thank-you note as the recipient of a successful kidney transplant in December 2010, and a way to hopefully inspire others to register as organ donors. In a way, it's his rebirth.
"My recovery has been remarkable," Rafes said last month as he began firming up details of the trip, which will include a festive launch from Allentown's Canal Park and overnight stays along the way. "I can't believe how bad I was before, and how energized I am now. The idea that someone 60 years old with a kidney transplant can do this trip is amazing. I'm in awe of the whole thing. People ask me why I want to do this at 60. I tell them I don't want to wait until I get too old."