A Toronto man is getting set to become the first disabled athlete to cross Lake Superior on a paddleboard. Mike Shoreman, who made a stop in Sault Ste. Marie Friday, has already crossed Lake Erie, and most recently crossed Lake Huron. He is raising money for youth mental wellness.

When Shoreman was diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome he was told he would never paddle board again. Shoreman says the disorder left him with facial paralysis and severely affected his speech, hearing and mobility.

He says the journey across the great lakes in a lot ways mirrors the challenges he’s experienced on the water.

“It’s kind of like a mental health journey. There are times during the crossing where you think… Is this ever going to end? And you get really frustrated, and you get really beat down by it. But I’ve got amazing people supporting me.”

One of those supporters is Liana Neumann. Part of her job is making sure Shoreman has the energy to paddle non-stop.

“He’s literally drinking about 250 millilitres of water every 30 minutes. And just for example, when we crossed Lake Huron, we did the calculations, and he drank 22 litres of water, he had 98-hundred calories, and about 56-hundred grams of carbs in that 28 hour period,” says Neumann.

Shoreman has a large support team, including Neumann, which will be travelling with him by boat as he attempts to cross Lake Superior on July 4th.

“We have a crew that we need to have on the boat for support and safety. So, there’s numbers of people that we need to have there, and they’re trying to work out their schedules. We need to keep Mike mentally and physically healthy and on track and then our biggest variable, of course, is the weather,” Neumann adds.

Shoreman has set a fundraising goal of 250 thousand dollars. He has so far managed to raise just over $54,000. The money will go toward www.jack.org, which works to provide mental health programs to communities across Canada.