Even though Mental Health Awareness Month was back in May, that didn’t stop Ohio local Joe Soloman from doing what many people would deem impossible. He decided to kayak the entire length of the Mississippi River in hopes of raising awareness for a Cincinnati based charity organization called Adventure Crew which strives to

“See a future where all city teens experience the empowering and therapeutic effects of an outdoor adventure. Where fear is conquered, confidence is gained and peace of mind is discovered.”

This is truly an incredible and unimaginable feat to tackle, but Joe has spoken publicly about personal experiences regarding kayaking and mental health struggles that will help fuel the 2,350-mile journey. He describes having a terrible reaction to an anesthetic in 2012 due to a surgery that left him in a completely catatonic state, meaning he could not move, speak, or react to any kind of stimuli. This led him down a dark path of various mental health obstacles as he was essentially trapped in his own body. To combat the darkness, Joe found light in kayaking.

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He began his recovery and started kayaking eight miles per day every day for four months. As his recovery continued to progress and he realized what an incredible healing tool nature could be, he set his sights on even bigger goals and now states that he plans to kayak all four major inland rivers in the United States! He tackled the Ohio River in 2019 and after his impending completion of the Mississippi River, he will move on the Missouri and Arkansas Rivers.

Joe makes various stops along the way to rest and recover and lucky for us Quad Citizens, he has a scheduled pitstop in Davenport this weekend and camps out for a few days to recuperate before getting back on the water. These rest days are of the utmost importance as this is no easy physical undertaking, and Joe has made it clear that it would not be possible without the people that have helped him along the way providing food, a place to sleep, and encouragement. He lovingly refers to these kind people as “River Angels.”

You can follow along with his incredible mission, which began in Michigan and is set to end in the Gulf of Mexico, on his Facebook page Kayaking 4 a Cause which he updates daily and shouts out the amazing people who have helped him along the way. You can also donate to help him promote and raise money for Adventure Crew by clicking here. Joe has stated that a paddle-like this can be pricey and due to a large number of people wanting to contribute to his journey, he provided his Venmo, @Joseph-Solomon, which supporters can donate to help Joe personally.

Again, Joe will be stopping in Davenport this weekend and will be camping out for a few days so don’t forget to keep tabs on his Facebook page, Kayaking 4 a Cause, to get those daily exclusive updates so you can catch a glimpse of him out on the mighty Mississippi!

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Davenport-opoly

Davenport-opoly is just like Monopoly but Davenport-themed! Get 5 of your friends and gather around to board for a fun game night that features Davenport-opoly.