don kerr

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Another excerpt from Riding Shotgun to support my continuing appeal

Another excerpt from Riding Shotgun to support my continuing appealDON KERR


As part of my continuing effort to raise C$6,500.00 to enable me to publish my book for cancer patient and/or survivor caregivers, I am sharing a few of the stories in Riding Shotgun. The following was first published in August of 2013 on my site

Arduous portages

Another excerpt from Riding Shotgun to support my continuing appealDON KERR


When I spent summers canoe tripping near Lake Mazinaw in Ontario, Canada I would reflect on these trips as idyllic travels through the bucolic yet rugged landscape. Other times I have recollections such as: paddling down Long Lake, into a stiff breeze, fighting whitecaps watching the skies darken as we paddled toward a portage which had to be covered before we could set up our leaky tents, struggling to get a suitable fire lit, and putting some food in our bellies before collapsing into a waterlogged sleeping bag.

The portage featured the great thrill of lashing the paddles to the thwarts, hefting a 60-pound canvas pack on my back, securing the tumpline around my forehead, and hiking the 120-pound cedar strip canvas covered canoe onto my shoulders, welcoming blackflies into this new found cover, finding at least one deer fly which would torment me until it finally removed a large chunk of my flesh. Only then, to announce to his pals that there was a splendid buffet on offer beneath this odd green hat!

I confessed to one of my Mazinaw camping colleagues that the latter observations form more of my memories than the former. Hard slogging, muddy, sweaty, dirty, tiring, irritating forced marches and endless hours of paddling, always against the wind, and in return we enjoyed…what? The achievement of simple survival? The occasional spectacular sunset? The infrequent discovery of still fertile wild raspberry bushes to share with the Madawaska black bears? The rare retrieval of a trout from the sparkling waters? The three a.m. awakening by bears and racoons battling for the suspended food packs while my tent mate shone a blazing flashlight in my eyes while waving around his pathetic little jacknife while thinking this might protect us from a fatal bear attack?

When undergoing a character-building exercise, it is hard to see the long-term benefit while swatting away the annoying hum of the everyday mosquito and recently I thought that this is a bit analogous to the caresharing job.

Just when it seems that we have reached safe harbour with the waters as still as glass and the loons serenading us with their melodic calls, a sudden squall appears from nowhere. The waters begin to churn as the sky once again darkens, threatening yet another downpour of anxiety-creating worry.

It is interesting to me (if I could achieve clinical detachment) that these episodes can arise even in the absence of any particular crisis.

Feeling felt

Katie is thriving. The kids, albeit maniacal at times are so happy to be playing outdoors again. The flowers are popping up. For the first time since moving in our lawn looks less like a dandelion nursery and more like a golf course.

That’s where the portage analogy began to work for me. This caresharing trip is never ending. It can feature moments of great beauty, heart-warming events, and even the very occasional episode when one forgets what has transpired. But then comes another follow-up appointment. Purely precautionary but nevertheless one which takes us back to the oncologist and into the environment that generated such dark feelings.

Yesterday, I heard the story of someone whose tale tore at my heart. A caregiver since she was a young girl, she only now realizes how lonely the job can be. One which causes us to sublimate our own needs and creates a hesitancy to ask for help. She too has travelled many portages and ultimately failed to find the restful campsite nor did she think she deserved a pleasant outcome.

So here is my plea to readers - it is important to feel felt! This is a critical aspect of the caregiver’s self-advocacy. It is not weakness to ask for help. It is not failure to experience the doubt that arises from time to time and it is not a failure of character to crumble upon occasion.

We all need to find a resting point on the portage. Take a moment to smack that deer fly. Relieve your thirst and hunger with a long drink of cold fresh water and freshly-picked raspberries.

It is our privilege to carry the pack, to feel the tug of the tumpline and to sense the slow burn of our legs as we mount another rocky slope. We have the trust of those whom we most love. That is the purpose of the journey.

If you're willing and able, any support - either financial through a pledge or by sharing with your followers - is very much appreciated.

©2016 Don Kerr. All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.

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don kerr

5 years ago #14

Almost without exclusion this is how my clients pay me now. Think the last time I got a paper cheque might have been a year ago. ETF is very convenient.

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #13

For the record, anyone with a CDN bank account can likely send you a donation via email. And the capability is spreading to several large U.S. Banks. Both sender and recipient need to be signed up with their respective banks. You set up the payment with a password for retrieval by the recipient, then send the recipient the password. Done deal. Fast and, last time I did it, free. Transfer is immediate. Cheers!

don kerr

5 years ago #12

I have added an FAQ section to my Kickstarter page to attempt to resolve some of the issues. Dean Owen I have sent a specific request to KS to learn what the HK issue is?

don kerr

5 years ago #11

When seeking advice about publishing I approached one of Katie's aunts who is a successfully-published author. Before she agreed to answer my questions she demanded that I answer just one for her. "How much money do you hope to make by publishing this book Don?" My response? "Quite contrary to making any financial gain my objective is to lose as little as possible!" She proceeded to answer my questions. I had passed her test.

don kerr

5 years ago #10

Randy Keho Gobsmacked! When I lived in Leeds it was one of my favourite English expressions. Now I am living it. I am beyond appreciative for your commitment and efforts. I note that some folks are experiencing challenges with Kickstarter. I am going to post some FAQ today to try to resolve this. Again, on behalf of Katie, Gabe, Sam - thanks so much for riding shotgun on this adventure!

Randy Keho

5 years ago #9

Monetary contributions are just the tip of the iceberg. The job doesn't stop there. If we can bolster all the expertise and resources represented by the millions of bees, we can make a worldwide impact. Volunteer your services to move this worthwhile project along. I can't speak for Don, but I don't think he's in this for financial rewards. Let's see this book available in multiple languages. When you think of it, the power of beBee is limitless. There are no insurmountable walls or borders. Step up and make a difference. What can you do to help?

Dean Owen

5 years ago #8

I can't see a Paypal option on the Kickstarter page.

Randy Keho

5 years ago #7

It may sound cliche, Dean, but the thought really does count. Moral support is invaluable. Thank you.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #6

I love what you've done with the cover. Don, I tried to make a pledge on Kickstarter, but was unsuccessful as it asks for your postal code along with the credit card information. My credit cards are Hong Kong based, and there are no postal codes in Hong Kong, but if I leave it blank, the transaction does not process. If I enter the generic code, that also does not process.

Randy Keho

5 years ago #5

Thank you, Aurorasa, you have a kind and caring heart. Don's book is written from the heart and his insights need to be made available to all.

Randy Keho

5 years ago #4

That's the spirit, Phil. I don't doubt that Don's book will help generations of families through some very tough times. Thank you for your generous contribution. I don't intend to stop championing his cause until his goal is achieved. He would do the same for us.

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #3

Well, I can't do a buck a follower, but put me down for CDN$50.00 -- which, of course is only about US$35.00. Hopefully, Don's book will help a number of people cope. My father's side of the family was decimated by this devastating (3 aunts and a first cousin, all of whom I still think about). I appreciate the chance to fight back, albeit in a small way. Let's get this done. Thanks, Randy for the idea.

don kerr

5 years ago #2

Speechless Randy Keho Kate and I and the boys so very much appreciate your support. This is remarkable and a testament to what beBee can do. You've got a special spot in the dedications my friend.

Randy Keho

5 years ago #1

Let's make this a done deal. I challenge all bees to match my contribution of $1 for every follower you have. In my case, that would add up to about $5. I don't mean to boast, but this is a worthwhile cause. If we don't help Don accomplish his goal, he'll just keep posting excerpts until he's published the entire book on beBee. That would require a hell of cut-and-paste job and you'd still have to have it bound, not to mention the cost of paper and ink. If you've already contributed, I thank you. If not? Why not? Skip that surf-and-turf dinner tonight and feel good about yourself going into the weekend. Help a brother out.

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