Kayaker missing kayak

Chris Leghorn, right, enjoying kayaking with a friend in her kayak Sunny, which was stolen.

Kayaking is one of the activities that brings Chris Leghorn immense joy.

Whether she is paddling away at the Blackburn Challenge or exploring the waters of Alaska, Leghorn said she has found the sport to be “one of the loves of my life.” The Gloucester resident said the thing she loves about it is the “sheer physicality.”

Leghorn said kayaking has been a sweet gift to her as she has navigated a slow, long loss of her eyesight due to a degenerative eye disease.

So when her yellow two-seat sea kayak, lovingly named Sunny, was stolen from Oaks Cove on Rocky Neck earlier this week, it hit Leghorn hard.

“The thing I love about kayaking is that, because it is a double kayak, there is a lot of camaradiery,” Leghorn said. “I can hear the sounds of the sea and the birds, the water as it laps up onto the kayak, and even the boats going by.”

“I miss seeing them, but I love sharing those moments and asking my partners what they see around them,” she added.

“The loss was so huge,” she said of the thest. “I am deeply sad this activity has been stolen from me, and I seriously don’t know when I will be able to replace it.”

As her story circulated around Facebook, Leghorn discovered an entire community has come to help her locate her beloved Sunny.

“I have been blown away by the kindness that has been shown to me,” she said, explaining that people have gone out on boats to look for the lost kayak, some have offered to donate money and gift cards from local outdoor recreation stores, and others have agreed to fly drones around the area to provide an aerial view.

Sunny’s loss even attracted the interest of West Newbury-based kayaker Matthew MacKenzie of River Rock Excursions. He has graciously spearheaded a fundraiser to get Leghorn a new kayak if her old one is not located.

“I have been an avid kayaker for years and love the kayaking community we have here in New England,” MacKenzie wrote on his fundraising page. “(Leghorn’s loss) was terrible to see because I can’t imagine having the joy of kayaking taken away from anyone.”

He said he has located a kayak that is the same make and model and is seeking donations to purchase it for Leghorn.

“I would love to make this happen for her and I think it’s a great cause for us to rally around as a community,” he added.

As of late Wednesday, the GoFundMe MacKenzie set up had surpassed its goal of $1,200, with $1,275 pledged.

Staff writer Taylor Ann Bradford may be contacted at 978-675-2705, tbradford@gloucestertimes.com or on Twitter at TayBradford97.

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