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Estero River regatta and sale to benefit Sunday

January 20, 2012
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Estero River Outfitters at 20991 S. Tamiami Trail in Estero is hosting its 18th annual Estero River Canoe & Kayak Regatta on Sunday, Jan. 22. The event, which has a noon check-in time and a 1 p.m. start, is a fundraiser for Outfitter employee Josh Stuller.

The pre-registration entry fee is $20 per person ($25 day of the race) and includes a

t-shirt and a famous end-of-series picnic lunch. All proceeds support the fund to help Josh Stuller obtain rehabilitation equipment for his home -as his goal is to be independent and walk eventually- and to purchase a van for his transportation needs.

The regatta features a four-mile recreational or 10-mile competitive course, the latter including a paddle to Mound Key, tide permitting. New this year is three paddleboard classes: a two-mile recreational standup paddleboard class and a four-mile men's and women's elite class.

Estero River Outfitters is offering free canoe or kayak use for the first 20 pre-registered racers who want to give this exciting event a try. Call Estero River Outfitters at 992-4050 and mention that you will need to use a boat for the race when you are pre registering.

The flea market will also be held at Estero River Outfitters from Friday, Jan. 20 to Sunday, Jan. 22. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The sale will have many different items from household goods to outdoor-oriented goods including padding and fishing items.

n The history of Josh's misfortune

Tragedy struck 18-year old Josh on Dec. 3, 2004, when he fell from a motorcycle onto hard pavement in the San Carlos Park area. For 33 days, he was in Lee Memorial Hospital's intensive care unit on a respirator, which became a part of him for the next eight months. He suffered severe neck and spinal cord injuries, had collapsed lungs and pneumonia and was induced into a coma to aid in his treatment. Josh is now paralyzed.

On Jan. 5, he went to the east coast where he spent another 3 weeks in the ICU at Browerd Medical Hospital. He was transferred to the Kindred Hospital to help get him off the ventilator.

Josh was airlifted to the Shepard Center in Atlanta in July 2006, where they successfully removed him from the ventilator in two days. What a Miracle! He went though extensive therapy for the next four months.

Josh was a senior at Estero High School at the time and had been working in the family business at Estero River Tackle and Canoe Outfitters, He is both an avid paddler and an avid fisherman including day and night fishing from canoes, kayaks and boats both here around Estero Bay and in the Florida Keys. Josh spent many hours fishing from the dock at Estero River Outfitters.

Josh returned home November 2005. He received his electric wheel chair for Thanksgiving! He lives in the family home in Estero and is surrounded by his friends and family.

The latest news involves Josh in the Shepard Center for three weeks in July. He learned many new things to help strengthen him for even more therapy next year in July.

Josh's twin brother, Jeff, as well as his older brother, Justin, and his mother Paula sincerely appreciate everyone's concern and compassion. Josh is excited over his improved situation and loves to receive notes and cards.

To help with the cost of the long-term care and rehabilitation, an account has been established at BB&T Bank. Donations may be made to the Josh Stuller Trust Fund. Contact any BB&T bank and please specify the funds to be deposited in the Joshua Stuller trust.



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