Paddling for Perspective

Angela Evans shows off a custom pink boat.
Portrait by Rachel Pressley

“We are not promised tomorrow,” remarks Angela Evans, a kayaker, author, and life coach. “It’s about the quality of your life. … Find what makes you happy and just do it.”

When her sister was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer more than a decade ago, she told Evans “she hated hearing the whining in her cancer-support group.” The two had grown up kayaking with their family, and Evans knew what her sister’s bucket list needed, so she took her kayaking with whales in Canada. They also went swimming and kayaking with manatees and dolphins in Florida and in Charleston, SC, and Evans made sure her sister was surrounded by her family at the beach a week before she passed. 

“After she died, I thought to myself, ‘I have to do something positive now.’”

A year later, Evan’s brother, who suffered from an eating disorder and who had been bullied throughout grade school, passed away. “I looked at my sister’s life that was so ‘Go, Go, Go,’ and my brother who was afraid to live for fear of what people thought of him, and knew that I wanted to help people suffering, to [show them] that you just can’t live your life in [a] shell.” 

Ten years ago, Evans started her nonprofit Waters of Hope, taking cancer patients, amputees, terminally ill patients, mentally ill individuals, victims of bullying, and others kayaking around Lake Summit, just a mile from her home in Zirconia.

This year, Evans was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and while she’s been told she is now cancer free, she feels a renewed urge to help. “One thing I’d like to do is to kick off the season with a record-breaking number of kayakers out here with me,” she told Bold Life last month. At press time in October — Breast Cancer Awareness Month — she was planning to lead at least 150 paddlers.

 “I want to show them it’s going to make them feel better to do positive things.”  

For more information, call 828-505-6333 or e-mail paddlersplace1967@yahoo.com.

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