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And, they're off!

Brock Wood (front) and Jesse Hacker, both 2012 graduates of Jefferson High School in Alexandria, departed Monday on a 2,350-mile kayak trip down the Mississippi River to raise funds for Hodgkin's lymphoma research. (Photo courtesy of Jean Ruzicka, Park Rapids Enterprise)

Brock Wood and Jesse Hacker dropped their oars into the water at the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park at 10 a.m. on Monday, June 17.

For the next two months, they will paddle their way 2,350 miles down the mighty river to raise awareness and money for Hodgkin's lymphoma research.

They will pass through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana, hoping to finish their trip in New Orleans in mid-August.

Wood was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in October 2012. On March 29, he finished his last radiation treatment at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

The Hodgkin's lymphoma survivor now wants to help others by raising money to help find a cure for this disease.

He is joined in his effort by friend Jesse Hacker. Both are 2012 graduates of Jefferson High School in Alexandria.

Their journey is called "Paddle 4 Kins." Video footage of their trip will be posted every day online at or and can also be accessed at

Donations may be made online at the above site, or by check made out to Paddle 4 Kins, sent to Bell State Bank and Trust, Paddle 4 Kins, 1011 Broadway St., Alexandria, MN 56308.

Editor's note: A more indepth story was done on Wood's experience in the March 20, 2013 issue of the Echo Press.