135 kilometers and 17 hours later, engineering graduate Sean McBeath can safely call his journey a success – and that’s not counting the $17,000+ that he has raised for clean energy research in honour of his long-time friend and mentor Tyler Lewis.
The two were enrolled in the UBC Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering where McBeath recently completed his undergraduate degree. Lewis was pursing his PhD when he passed away suddenly after a tragic ski accident last December.
Along with competitive kayakers Dion Maxwell and Liam Fisher, McBeath paddled the demanding 135 kilometres from Victoria to Vancouver on July 20 to raise funds for the Tyler Lewis Clean Energy Research Foundation, which was established by Lewis’s parents in honour of their son. The foundation funds alternative energy and applied sustainability research initiatives, a cause that was dear to Lewis.
“Tyler’s life was dedicated to clean energy – not only in his studies but also in every other aspect of his life,” McBeath said. “He was an avid outdoors man and along with that came his desire for sustainable living. The foundation is the perfect way for the memory of Tyler to live on through his love of the environment.”
Tyler was pivotal in convincing McBeath to pursue engineering. After McBeath spent a couple of years at McGill University, he enrolled in the UBC Faculty of Applied Science where Lewis was starting his graduate studies.
“He was my mentor and role model throughout my undergrad. He would look over all my assignments,” chuckled McBeath. “He also helped me with any career and academic advice that I needed.”
McBeath, who had trained and competed in kayaking all his life, saw the challenging trek as a natural way to honour Lewis’s memory and his love of the outdoors.
“The most rewarding part was the last 10 kilometers,” he admitted. “You know you’re so close to home. The three of us were right beside each other, soaking in the last few kilometres.”
He also cited the finish line as a highlight, expressing how thankful he felt for everyone that supported their journey – from the safety boat crew, to everyone who came out to cheer them on at the finish.
“It was a huge team effort,” McBeath said.
Visit the Tyler Lewis Clean Energy Research Foundation website: http://tylerlewis.ca/
Visit the fundraiser’s website: http://raincitycentral.ca/