Woman kayaking 500 miles of shoreline at SML closes in on final leg

Susan Gallagher is raising money for court advocates for children

BEDFORD Co., Va. – A Smith Mountain Lake woman is closing in on the finish line for her marathon trip around the water.

Susan Gallagher set out on a goal to kayak the entire 500-mile shore ine of the lake. The adventure is to raise money for the Southern Virginia Child Advocacy Center, which supplies court-appointed special advocates for children going through tough times. Gallagher says there is an outstanding need for volunteers and money to keep up with ever-growing demands.

She raised nearly $30,000 on the way to her bosses' goal of $35,000, although her personal goal is $500,000. She did, however, succeed in raising awareness for her cause, as pinwheels, which are symbolic of child abuse awareness are seen in abundance.

"They're all over the lake so the one thing I know I've done is raised awareness of the problem," Gallagher said. "People have said, 'we never thought there were that many kids,' we don't want to think about it, but there are that many kids and we need to help, we have the responsibility to help them."

The Portside Grill hosted a fundraiser Friday night to help her raise even more money. Gallagher will finish the journey where she began, at Smith Mountain Lake Community Park, Saturday morning.

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