Paddleboarder with disability looks to make history on the Great Lakes

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ByWill Jones via WLS logo
Thursday, July 28, 2022
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Mike Shoreman is looking to become the first person with a disability to paddleboard across all the Great Lakes.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It was a 26-hour, 44-mile journey by paddleboard across Lake Michigan from New Buffalo, Michigan to Chicago.

"I didn't eat food throughout the entire thing. I was drinking shakes with carbohydrates," said paddleboarder Mike Shoreman. "That was very difficult. The weather was very challenging out there."

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Shoreman is used to challenges. In 2018, he was diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that can cause facial paralysis, hearing loss in the affected ear and other complications.

"I had to learn how to walk again," Shoreman said. "The doctor said, 'you'll never paddleboard.'"

But, the Toronto-based paddleboard coach regained his strength both physically and mentally.

Now Shoreman is back at it, attempting to make history this summer as the first athlete with a disability to cross all five Great Lakes on a paddleboard. Shoreman had previously checked off Huron, Superior and Erie, before turning his attention to Lake Michigan.

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Shoreman began the endeavor Tuesday and a small crew traveled alongside him to document the journey and make sure he stayed safe.

"This morning, I kept on saying to my team, the weather picked up and I didn't know and I kept on saying to them, you know, maybe we have to call this and they said 'no, we'll let you know when we're going to call this,'" Shoreman said.

Shoreman kept his eyes on Chicago's picturesque skyline and made it to shore at North Avenue Beach around 8 a.m. Wednesday.

"I'm very sore today, but very happy to be here in Chicago," Shoreman said.

Shoreman hopes to inspire people with disabilities as well as raise money to support youth mental health organizations in his native Canada.

"I had a mental health breakdown," Shoreman said. "On the other side of receiving mental health treatment, I realized that I didn't want kids ever to feel that way."

Shoreman's final destination is Toronto by way of Lake Ontario, which is scheduled for August.

"The greatest lesson that I've learned is to not listen to what people say that you can and cannot do," Shoreman said.