Service Comes in Many Forms Lions Clubs International has members in 210 nations and geographic areas, and clubs help people and improve their communities in innumerable ways. Notwithstanding cultural differences and customs, the common language of Lions is service. AUSTRALIA Sea Lion Crosses the Atlantic Ocean Alone on the sea in a rowing race across the Atlantic, Andrew Abrahams was washed off his boat. “Basically, the wave just said, ‘You’re not going to sit there anymore and flicked me off like a little bug,’” he recounted later. Climbing back on board Abrahams gashed his leg on the rudder. The 42-year-old Australian survived that harrowing episode as well as raging storms with 50-foot waves, brutal heat, sleep deprivation, physical and mental fatigue and worrisome encounters with sharks in his 57 days at sea. He succeeded in rowing 2,818 miles from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean. He was the only solo rower to complete the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, finishing seventh overall ahead of five teams. A member of the Rochedale Springwood Lions Club, Abrahams donated the $10,000 raised from his adventure to disadvantaged children. He had hoped to raise much more, but the rough seas broke his satellite equipment, the key to media coverage. Abrahams is a fitness buff who holds a world record for machine rowing—1 million meters (621 miles) in 119 hours. His background is rich both nautically and charitably. His fourth-great grandfather, Owen Cavanough, rowed ashore with Admiral Arthur Phillip, the founder of the British penal colony that became Sydney, and actually set foot before him, becoming the first member of the Royal Navy to land on Australia. Abrahams named his boat the RV Owen Cavanough. Abrahams is a founder of the Townsville to Cairns Bike Ride, which has raised more than $5 million for charity. He works as a handyman. Like the other race boats, the Owen Cavanough was 23 feet long and 6.5 feet wide and had no sail or motor. A small cabin provided modest protection from the elements. Competitors were not allowed to receive food, repairs or help of any kind. Valued at $80,000, his boat did contain high-tech navigation equipment. But one of his greatest challenges was loneliness. Visiting pods of curious whales helped him while away the hours. SINGAPORE Seniors Get Fed, Set a Record Thanks to Lions, 5,000 seniors enjoyed a sumptuous lunch and lavish entertainment, celebrated their nation’s 50 years of independence and set a record for the Singapore Book of Records. Thirty-eight Lions clubs treated seniors from homes for the elderly or living alone in small flats and reliant on Lions’ aid to an eight-course Chinese lunch at a hall in Singapore. Lions sang and danced for the seniors. “The day was a success. The volunteers enjoyed serving the seniors, and the seniors enjoyed singing along, clapping their hands, even dancing,” says International Director Charlie Chan of Singapore. The seniors entered the record book when they made 4,000 rice dumplings simultaneously. They brought home some dumplings as well. About 800 Lions and another 1,200 volunteers staffed the event. Lions arranged for 200 buses to transport the seniors to and from the hall. The clubs alerted Lions Clubs International to the project, so it could be counted toward the Centennial Service Challenge. Digital LION Watch a video on the race across the Atlantic at lionmagazine.org.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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