Ruth Rayner

Ruth's 730 Consecutive day Wild Skin Swimming Challenge

Fundraising for Alzheimer's Society
raised of £1,000 target
by 45 supporters
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Alzheimer's Society

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 296645
We provide help and hope to everyone living with dementia.


I call myself a surfer as I've been surfing on and off for the past 25 years, however, in May 2017, I started sea swimming. I have now swum through three winters and am almost out on the warmer side of my fourth. And in case you were wondering, no, it doesn't get easier, you just know what to expect and what to wear before and after to limit the pain!

On March 16th 2020, I began sea swimming every day. I didn’t set out to do it for any particular length of time but it became a part of my daily routine, my way of coping through unsettling times. February 2021 was particularly challenging as I lost my grandma and aunt within the space of two days. This meant I relocated to Yorkshire to be with my mum and found myself swimming in a local reservoir, in sub five degree water, every day for a month. I swam through snow blizzards, gale force winds and had to break the ice to get in the water on one particular day. It was brutal but it helped numb the pain of overwhelming grief. On March 15th 2021, somehow I had completed 365 days without a break and in just my cossie (and swimming hat). Thanks to everyone who donated, I raised £1900 for Alzheimer's Society (and £965 for RNLI) 

Of course, I was looking forward to the challenge ending as I was pretty tired and still in the early stages of grief. I needed time to adjust, process, rest... It soon became apparent though, that the only way I could adjust and process my emotions, was in the ocean. I was calm and things were clearer in there, so I carried on swimming. Every day. Now, although I'd said it was a one year challenge, many knew regardless of what I said (and truly believed), there was a high probability, it would turn into a two year challenge. And they were right as I am fast approaching March 15th 2022 when I will have reached my final (yes really!) goal. 730 consecutive days wild swimming. I will have swum 800 times within these 730 days.  

Year Two has seen more reservoir swimming (although mostly in the summer this time), quite a few night swims due to working away and not getting back until way after last light, plus some (non-Covid-19) health issues. Having the unconditional support of my mum and a core group of swim buddies has, without doubt, helped me get through this second year!

So again, I’m going to take this opportunity to raise some more money for the two charities during my final 31 days. After my first 300 swims in 2020, I gave £300 shared between, Seabirds Ltd, Leave No Trace Brighton, RNLI, Firefighters and Sycamore Park Care Home (where Grandma was a resident). I’m now asking you to donate to the Alzheimer's Society. I also have a separate JustGiving page for the RNLI. Let's see if we can beat last year's total raised for both charities.

🔹Why Alzheimer's Society?

Grandma had Alzheimer’s and, although she died of Covid-19 (aged 95), this disease was not going to go away. She was a strong, capable lady and I am proud to say we have always had an incredibly close bond. I have too many memories to mention but many involved swimming, from her taking me for my weekly swimming lesson when I was small, to me teaching her to swim when I was a teenager. Treasured times. She was excited and proud that I was nearing the end of the 365 days of sea swimming (when she died) and I know she would have been overwhelmed by the support everyone showed. It's now incredibly important for me to complete this extended challenge, in her memory. 

Alzheimer’s Society is transforming the landscape of dementia forever.Until the day we find a cure, we will create a society where those affected by dementia are supported and accepted, able to live in their community without fear or prejudice. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you in advance, for your incredible support.

About the charity

Alzheimer's Society

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 296645
At Alzheimer’s Society we’re working towards a world where dementia no longer devastates lives. We do this by giving help to those living with dementia today, and providing hope for the future by campaigning to make dementia the priority it should be and funding groundbreaking research.

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