Breaking Barriers – Mike Shoreman on record to become the first person with a disability to cross all 5 of the Great Lakes
Posted on: August 5, 2022

Mike Shoreman also known as “the unbalanced paddleboarder” is on his way to rewriting the history books and changing the narrative for people with disabilities by becoming the first person with a disability to cross ALL FIVE of the Great Lakes.

Mike Shoreman is a Canadian from Toronto, ON who in 2018 was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called Ramsay Hunt Syndrome where symptoms can range from facial paralysis to full mobility loss.

Mike was a professional paddleboarder but in 2018 lost his ability to paddleboard due to his condition. Mike lost his ability to walk and doctors said he’d never be able to paddleboard again. Mike was determined to find a way to be on his board again and prove everyone wrong to continue doing the sport he loves. With a supportive team and physiotherapy, Mike was able to recultivate some of his mobility and was able to paddleboard again.

Paddleboarding looked different than it once did. At first, Mike wasn’t able to be on the board long before getting sick, but over time he was able to balance and then paddle, first from his knees and eventually back on his feet.

Mike’s love for paddleboarding never died. He even did a race after his diagnosis where he finished five minutes behind the previous competitor, but the arena erupted with cheers as Mike finished. His determination to stick with the sport despite facing major setbacks caught the eye of the paddleboard company starboard.

Since his diagnosis, Mike has faced many mental health struggles which fuelled his desire to make a difference by becoming the first person to do something. He came up with the idea to be the first person with a disability to paddleboard from one country to another. He partnered with jack.org to raise money for the organization which aims to end the stigma around mental health and provides mental health programs for communities throughout Canada. He’s hoping to raise

Mike planned to paddle across Lake Ontario from Rochester, NY to Toronto, ON in the summer of 2021. Sadly his trip was cut short when Mike and his team made the tough decision to end the trip halfway to prioritize Mike’s health.

This was just a bump in the road for Mike. This year, Mike has set his sights on being the first person with a disability to cross all five Great Lakes and has completed 4 out of 5.

The first Great Lake he tackled was Lake Erie where he crossed from Sturgeon Point, NY to Crystal Beach, ON on May 29th. He then ventured across Lake Huron in over 28 hours where he paddled from Harbor Beach, MI to Goderich, ON on June 11th. He conquered the big lake, Lake Superior on July 5th when traveled from Orienta, Wi to Two Harbours, MN. His latest successful crossing was on Lake Michigan where he traveled from Union Pier, MI to Chicago, IL on July 26th. His last and final crossing of this adventure will be on Lake Ontario, where his vision to prove everyone wrong first struck. Mike will paddle from Youngstown, NY to the Habourfront Centre in Toronto, ON on August 20th to complete his journey.

You can follow along on Mike’s journey on Instagram @mike_shoreman and find more information and where to donate at jack.org/5greatlakes.



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