Because Every Human Being Deserves Clean Water
Hi, I’m Katie Spotz FitzGerald and I am an endurance athlete, world record holder, safe water activist, and recently retired U.S. Coast Guard Military Officer from Mentor, Ohio. One of my previous challenges was setting the record as the youngest person to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. This 3,000-mile journey started in Africa and ended in South America after 70-days alone at sea. This event raised $250,000 for safe drinking water projects and received widespread media coverage in the U.S. and around the world.
A Long Way 4 Water is the continuation of that journey, biking from where I landed in Guyana, South America to Colombia, and then kayaking to reach Texas, becoming the 1st woman to do it. With my teammate and husband, Mike FitzGerald, we are also attempting to become the 1st Americans to make the journey by kayak from South to North America. The journey will begin in late 2023. This journey is more than an adventure; it’s an opportunity to raise funds for clean water. One in ten people, right now, are without clean water and sanitation and our goal is to raise $100,000 and help 10,000 people gain access to clean water.
With the help of some amazing sponsors like P&H Custom Sea Kayaks, Sawyer Products, Backcountry, Werner Paddles, and Leetrice Bikes, we are fortunate enough to have the proper gear and equipment to cover the vast distance. A local kayak paddling center, Portland Paddle, has been instrumental in getting our team of two ready for the ocean’s vast distances. Being a novice never stopped me from trying. I went from benchwarmer to triathlete and record holding swimmer, to having only basic rowing experience before crossing the Atlantic. My husband has even less experience! But with proper training, amazing assistance from others, the motivation of the cause of generating funds for the Ugandan Water Project and a sense of adventure, the trek would be crazy not to undertake.
It’s like the old saying: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. With every pedal stroke and paddle stroke, we hope to raise awareness, inspire, and reach out to as many people as possible to let them know that they can make a difference in the fight against water inequality; you can make the world a better place. Water issues affect health, they impact the ability to get an education, and they disproportionately affect women as the primary sources of gaining water for families. It is estimated that people walk 3 billion miles every day to source clean water. With disparities and distances that vast, what is a bike across a continent and kayak to another by comparison?
We ask that you tell your friends, spread the word, and please donate. A little bit goes a massive way: it only takes $10 for one person to get access to clean water for a decade. We’re off in late 2023 and can’t wait to share the adventure with you! Follow along and please lend your support to a human right that every human being deserves: clean water.