Former Eastbourne College student with pancreatic cancer paddle boards around coast of Costa Rica for charity

Charlie Howden blogged and posted pictures during his challenge
Charlie Howden blogged and posted pictures during his challenge
  • Charlie has been working hard to fundraise for the William Guy Forbeck Research Foundation
  • He was around one mile out to sea to avoid any crocodiles lurking in the shoreline
  • Charlie is undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer diagnosed in August 2013

An Eastbourne man suffering from pancreatic cancer has paddleboarded around the west coast of Costa Rica between his chemotherapy sessions.

Charlie Howden is a former St Andrew’s and Eastbourne College student.

The 36-year-old has been working as a first mate on large charter yachts and has a passion for the sea.

He now lives in Florida but is not working at the moment because he is undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer, which was diagnosed in August 2013.

Despite his diagnosis and treatment, Charlie has been working hard to fundraise for the William Guy Forbeck Research Foundation with a 200-mile paddleboard journey. He flew back to Florida on Sunday (May 31) after paddleboarding an average of 18 miles each day.

He was around one mile out to sea to avoid any crocodiles lurking in the shoreline.

His proud father Chris Howden, who lives in Eastbourne, spoke to the Herald about his son’s challenge.

He said, “He had planned to do this challenge before he was diagnosed, so it was delayed but he just decided to go ahead and raise the money.

“He had chemotherapy on May 10 and then he gave himself a few days to get over it and flew out to Costa Rica on the 14th. He started the challenge on May 17 and the doctors have given him an extra week of chemotherapy. He finished on May 31, flew home and started chemotherapy again on June 1.”

Charlie has been documenting his challenge.

He said, “In total, in 11 days, I managed 200 miles – about an average of 18 miles a day.

“Not bad considering some parts I was only doing one mph.

“Did I want to accomplish more? Yes of course, but on reaching my destination I had to step back and realise what I had accomplished – Two hundred miles in harsh seas while in the midst of chemotherapy treatment.

“Who would have thought that, diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer and undergoing radiation therapy and 34 chemotherapies (35 today), I would I have done that.

“I plan many more adventures and aspire to beat this disease. I want all those out there suffering, or with a friend or family member that is, to know that so much is possible. I hope I have given strength and hope to many and I want to continue to do so. A strong mind can do so much.”

Charlie’s story has attracted global media coverage and he has raised more than $13,780.

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