MILWAUKEE -- If they complete their journey around all five Great Lakes, a pair of kayakers may make history. But that would be second to what they are also trying to achieve in the name of cancer research.
When water is your passion, it's hard to stay on dry land, which is why it's nice when you have a team on the shore.
"We can see them. They are about a mile out. We wear these green jackets so they can see us at quite a distance," said Walt Kutzavitch. "I'm guessing seven or eight hundred miles so far."
Kutzavitch is getting pretty good at spotting Joe Zellner and Peggy Gabrielson. The two are two months into a 6,000-mile journey kayaking around all five Great Lakes -- closing in on the 1,000-mile mark as they hit Harrington Beach State Park on Tuesday morning, May 30th. If they succeed, they may become the first man and woman to paddle all five lakes in one calendar year.
"I'm looking at water. I'm looking at houses and fish and birds and the scenery has been absolutely gorgeous," said Zellner.
Admittedly, doing what you love may be considered self-indulgent.
"If you're going to do anything that is self-indulgent, you need to provide something for someone else also," said Gabrielson.
Here's their caveat: the duo is raising money to benefit pediatric brain cancer research. Zellner's motivation is Callie Rohr, a little girl who died of a brain tumor before she was 10.
"They've had an ongoing fundraiser for many years. They do a canoe and kayak race in the Wisconsin River," said Gabrielson.
The pair have come to know Callie's family and wanted to help. $61,000 is their goal. Money raised on the trip will benefit Children's Hospital of Chicago.
Conditions haven't been great lately, so the team has some catching up to do.
"Tomorrow we'll be on the water if the weather allows us," said Gabrielson.
"It's for a good cause. It's not for something you can't see. This is a cause," said Zellner.
If everything goes to plan, the expedition will end in Detroit around October, having raised tens of thousands of dollars for cancer research.
To learn more about Joe Zellner and Peggy Gabrielson's journey and to follow along with their exact location, CLICK HERE.