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Taking Plunges: From the Yukon River to 100 Foster Babies

Rob Cassin

Steve Cannon's thirst for adventure is unquenchable. He's a runner, cyclist, kayaker, and skiier. Cannon's latest book, Upside Down in the Yukon River, chronicles his journey through the Yukon River Quest, one of the world's lengthier river races, and at least one memorable plunge into icy waters. 

Cannon's voyage in marathon paddling started at home in the rivers of Iowa. Even he, however, felt trepidation when he learned about the "race to the midnight sun," as the Yukon River Quest is nicknamed.

"I was equal parts terrified, excited, and like all great challenges or things that inspire us, it just wouldn’t go away," Cannon says. "It filled most of my waking moments.”

Even when he wasn't out paddling in preparation for the journey, Cannon was readying himself in other ways, learning self-rescue and taking technical courses. It was a change for Cannon, who prefers a more spontaneous approach.

“I very much am ‘shoot first, aim later’ in a lot of things," Cannon says. "Thank goodness that has changed a lot for me since doing this.”

All the preparation paid off when Cannon capsized during the quest. He had to put his skills to the test and finish the race.

“I was there to finish and I wanted to get through that leg.”

Charity Nebbe's conversation with Deb and Mike Schuring

But not all risky plunges occur on the water. On this Talk of Iowa, Deb and Mike Schuring share the story of a different kind of plunge. The Schurings fostered 100 babies after two of their own children died as newborns. 

"Because of what we lived we felt we had uniquely developed hearts that could bond with newborns and then directly turn them over to their forever families," Deb says.