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Kayak the Thames - Our Mission to Support the British Heart Foundation

Kayak the Thames - Our Mission to Support the British Heart Foundation

Written by

Adam Castleton


May 31, 2017


Startle news

On Saturday 17th June, a team of 10 absolute beginners will set off on a five day challenge to Kayak the Thames!

Made up of Startle employees, friends and family, Team Finn will be kayaking thirty miles of the River Thames each day, all to raise money for the British Heart Foundation's research into Congenital Heart Defects.

Team Finn’s Motivation

Kayak the Thames was arranged by Startle's founder, Adam, who sadly lost his 6 month-old son to a congenital heart condition in December 2015.

When baby Finn was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome shortly after birth, he had to undergo major heart surgery, and his family were told that he would need at least two more operations within the first few years of life.

After a difficult but successful first operation and a following seven weeks in hospital, Finn was able to go home. His parents, Adam and Amalie, cherished a few happy weeks getting to know him. With his delightful nature, he charmed passersby and allowed his parents to rest while he slept peacefully through the night.

Finn, Adam and Amalie

Four weeks into normality, Finn was assessed for his second operation, but his heart was too weak and the surgery could not be completed. Sadly, Finn’s condition deteriorated in the following months.

After being transferred to Great Ormond Street hospital for a heart transplant assessment, Adam and Amalie learnt that a transplant would not be possible. It was then that they had to say goodbye to Finn, peacefully in their arms.

About the Challenge

Every day, 12 babies in the UK are diagnosed with a heart defect. To help children just like Finn, the team are on a mission to raise £10,000 for the British Heart Foundation, who fund lifesaving research into the causes and treatments of Congenital Heart Defects.

Infographic showing congenital heart disease statistics

Team Finn will travel a gruelling thirty miles a day to get from their starting point, Lechlade, to Tower Bridge in London. Over the five days, they’ll be making their way through Oxford, Marlow, Streatley and Kingston, crossing a total of forty-five locks en-route!

Read more about the fantastic work the British Heart foundation do on the Kayak the Thames website.

As reluctant sportspeople, the kayakers have been getting in practice over the past twelve months at every opportunity. They’ve battled with injuries and confrontational weather, and even narrowly missed an unexploded WW2 bomb in the waters!

Needless to say, the challenge will not be easy.

How You Can Help

We’re gathering as much support for Kayak the Thames as we can - to cheer on Team Finn, help them see their 150-mile journey through, and to ultimately hit their £10,000 target for the British Heart Foundation.

To help us spread the word, please go ahead and share our posts with your friends and family. You can find out more on Facebook and Twitter, where we’ve been sharing updates on Team Finn’s kayaking practices and will be posting live updates throughout the five-day challenge!

If you can spare a few pounds to donate directly to the charity and help to make a real difference to the lives of heart disease sufferers across the UK, please visit the fundraising page.

Thank you!

Lastly, we’d like to say a massive thank you to everybody who has helped Kayak the Thames so far. To anyone who made a donation or contributed to the challenge in any way, we hugely appreciate your support.

See you on the water!

Map of the kayak route
Kayak the Thames - Our Mission to Support the British Heart Foundation

Adam Castleton

CEO at Startle. It's my job to lead Startle, ensuring that we have a positive impact on both our customers and our team, by delivering innovation and growth in a positive culture. When I'm not at my desk, you'll either find me at a customer's site, or in the forest with my wife and boys - my two happy places.

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