Keegan Taberner is not your average high school student.
The 17-year-old Campbell Riverite is planning a sailing adventure to Hawaii and back after he graduates from Timberline Secondary next June. But this is not just a big trip; it’s a big trip with a big cause. Taberner has had juvenile (type 1) diabetes since he was two years old, and his mission is to raise as much money as he can for diabetes research through the trip dubbed Keegan Taberner’s Sail for Juvenile Diabetes.
He is already planning the trip and looking for companies to sponsor him, as well as donations from anyone and everyone who would like to support his mission.
“It is a little ways away, but I want to start getting the word out there, getting it in everybody’s head to help spread the word,” said Taberner. “I do need to get some fundraising done between here and then because I want to raise quite a bit of money.”
He will leave from Campbell River and travel down as far as Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, before heading over to Hawaii, U.S.A., then back to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and up to Campbell River, travelling about 16,000 kilometres in total. He plans to leave on June 26 and return on Dec. 30 – about six months in total – which he admits is quite fast for the distance he will travel.
“It’s definitely not a cruising trip; it is a trip to get the word out there and spread the message,” said Taberner.
Taberner will have help in his quest to spread the message; he plans to find two shipmates to come along with him on the trip. He has talked to a couple of classmates about it, but hasn’t settled on who it will be quite yet.
Taberner has been around boats since he was a kid, going “cruising” with family and friends. He was recently certified by the International Sail and Power Association, and plans to take more sailing courses during the school year. He also plans to buy a small training sail boat to take for overnight trips in the Discovery Islands.
“I am going to spend the next year getting more experience because you can never have enough,” said Taberner. “I want to spend some time in heavier winds – stuff that might be a little bit unexpected, but you might find out there.”
Taberner will then upsize to something “blue water ready,” meaning a 36-40 foot sail boat equipped for the open ocean.
Along the way Taberner will be stopping in communities to spread the word and fundraise for the disease. He said this cause is very important to him because of his first hand experience with juvenile diabetes.
“I’ve lived with it for 15 years basically,” said Taberner. “I know what it’s like and I just want to help all the kids out there and try to make a difference.”
For more information, or to make a donation, go to www.keegantaberner.com.