Row4Autism involves coupling adventure with an awareness campaign to support recreational community initiatives to benefit individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The expedition will entail rowing solo and unsupported around Vancouver Island in its entirety, a distance of 1,100km, this June 2014.


Autism has long been a part of my family’s life as my son was diagnosed in 2007. Driven by hope and the love only a parent can understand, we have held a variety of awareness campaigns over the last 6 years to raise funds for science, research and community initiatives.

I gave long, hard thought to an idea that came through following recent human powered feats across the globe and began a project to build an expedition style rowing scull/boat. At its inception, the plan was to couple the build with an epic challenge/trip that would go towards raising autism awareness.

My desire to do this has and will be questioned, and rightfully so. If you truly know me, know my son and know my commitment level when it comes to matters close to my heart, then you’ll understand ‘why’.

This journey is not about notoriety, headlines or braving danger. It is about bringing understanding, definition and resolve to an inherent ignorance in our society and government about a disorder that many fail to comprehend or believe is truly a concern with many of our children and adults worldwide.

Stay tuned for updates, news and progress reports as I transition into the final months of preparations. I will share through pictures and stories the journey that this has been to date and will continue to be moving forward through 2014.  You can track my progress live by clicking here.

Thank you!

  1. It will be a very “soul-full” journey, I know—all the very best to you, John. Let Bill and I know if you need a bunk at either Parksville or our summer trailer on the beach at Deep Bay (across from the southern tip of Denman Island). We’ll want to follow your progress—I’m going to forward this to some kayaking friends as well…maybe they may keep you company some of the way 🙂

  2. Kristen and Wayne porter says:

    Go guy!!! Sorry we’re finally getting into it with you..Our prayers go with you too

  3. Patricia says:

    Very heart warming….great adventure for a great cause….we send strength and stamina to you from us
    Pat and Bud, Sechelt, BC

  4. vllam28 says:

    Hi John! Don’t know if you remember me from Nootka and Windermere…but I saw your segment on Global tonight and said “I know him!” and had to check out your blog! I think what you are doing to raise awareness for autism will be many strokes in the right direction. I pray for your safety on this journey and for many positive stories to come out of your expedition. All the best to you and your family as you live and love life!

  5. Lucas says:

    You are an awesome father. I wish you luck on your journey. You have a special amazing son and he has truly the best family he can ever have. You make all us super dad’s proud. I’m inspired and will donate to your cause.

  6. Fred says:

    My nephew Jayden Moniz is 7 and has Autism. His parents are great. His mother is my niece and a ferocious advocate for him and Autism awareness in general. What your doing is amazing! God bless your on your challenge! Myself and Jayden’s two cousins wrote a song called Carry Me which was written with some of the parents perspective, hardships and of course the love shared by everyone that a child or adult with Autism touch and inspire. You can hear it at http://www.reverbnation.com/almosthomelessband if you like it I could send you the mp3 for free so you could listen to it when you’re on your journey. Our intentions are genuine and I believe the same as yours, to bring awareness and share with anyone that will listen. Thank you for your time and again best of luck!

  7. cindy4autism says:

    To my brother John I love you so much I wish you a safe journey, you mean the world to me! We will take care of Yvonne and the kids while you are away. There are no words that can tell you how proud of a sister you have made me. I hope to meet up with you at a couple points along the way on your journey. Love you and we will be a phone call away…..Love you lots Sis

  8. Claudette Sawyer says:

    Hi John,
    Really impressed at how quickly you are moving up the island – such a beautiful part of BC. Kids had a great week at school and we really enjoyed Yvonne’s luncheon last Saturday! I’m sure you miss her food. Following your journey everyday – you are an inspiration to making a difference to the world of autism.

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