British Columbia

Comox beer-brewing doctor transports kegs by paddleboard to support sick kids

Harris sold beer he brewed himself to raise funds for organizations that help sick children, like his own daughter who was diagnosed with leukaemia three years ago.

Family physician Brad Harris' own daughter was diagnosed with leukemia

Harris en route to Royston, towing two kegs of beer. (Supplied)

On May 6 Comox family physician Brad Harris donned his swim shorts and hopped on a paddleboard transporting some unusual cargo: two kegs of beer he brewed himself.

The self-taught brewer transported the kegs from Courtenay down the inlet to Royston for a cause that is close to his and his family's hearts — raising money for B.C. Children's Hospital and You Are Not Alone, an organization that supports Comox families with sick children.

Three years ago Harris' daughter was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, when she was three-and-a-half years old.

Raising funds for sick kids

"She was trick and treating on Halloween, keeping up with everyone. I came home from work late … and then my wife said she's got little red dots on her face," Harris said, adding that they took her to emergency after they discovered bruising.

Comox family physician Brad Harris prepares to tow a paddleboard holdings two kegs of beer he brewed. (Supplied)

"They diagnosed her on the spot with leukemia, and that started two and a half years of chemotherapy."

Harris and his wife got involved with You Are Not Alone, and when he came across a stand up paddle board at a YANA auction that matched the colours of his own nanobrewery, Royston Nano Brewery, he realized he could use the board and his own beer to make a difference.

"At the time I had the idea I would use the stand up paddleboard to deliver the beer."

SUP'ing with beer

Harris got to work figuring out how to tow another paddleboard behind his own, to carry the beer, and also got help from the local paddleboard community.

The group set out early Friday morning on May 6, picking up the kegs from Gladstone Brewing in Courtenay, dropping one off at the White Whale restaurant in town, and then going down to Royston to drop off another at Roy's Towne Pub.   

Harris spoke to host Robyn Burns on All Points West shortly after completing the journey on Friday, and before selling his IPA to raise funds for YANA and B.C. Children's Hospital's oncology services.

"We even had a tailwind. Even the wind was behind us The sun was in my face, the tide was going out, we basically just floated down the river, and pulled up in front of the Roy's Towne pub, took the keg off the paddleboard, put it on a dolly, walked it to the Roy's Towne pub, and now I just have to wait to sell the beer," he said, laughing.

"I flipped the towed paddleboard once, but all the kegs were attached," he said.

With files from CBC's All Points West

To hear the full story listen to the audio labelled: Comox doctor transports kegs by paddleboard to raise funds for BC Children's Hospital, sick kids