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Man to paddleboard around the US to raise money for students with autism

By Tianna Morimoto

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    PHOENIX (KPHO/KTVK) — A Valley man is kicking off a paddleboarding adventure across the country to support a good cause.

Steven Leavitt will paddle on a different lake, river, or bay for 68 days as part of his campaign to raise scholarship money for students with autism. Leavitt will start his paddle boarding journey at Tempe Town Lake next Sunday for his 68th birthday. He then plans to paddleboard in California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, British Columbia and Alberta. “It’s peaceful, it’s a great workout, but also, I wanted to do something that had never been done before,” said Leavitt.

Leavitt is raising money for the Gentry Foundation for Autism, a nonprofit that provides scholarships for families who can’t afford to have their children evaluated for autism spectrum disorders. Several Tempe businesses are supporting his cause which he calls the “SUP 68 for autism” campaign.

“There are lots of paddleboard records based on speed and endurance or whatever. That’s not going to be me at this point in my life, but I can paddle a lot of different places in a short period of time so I said alright, no one’s ever done 68 different lakes in 68 different locations consecutively. I’m going to try that,” said Leavitt.

Leavitt says he wants to fund scholarships for at least 68 families.

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