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102 %
raised of £1,300 target
by 27 supporters
Susan McCraith avatar
Susan McCraith

Susan's Channel-length Swim for Skin Cancer

Fundraising for Skin Cancer Research Fund

102 %
raised of £1,300 target
by 27 supporters
  • Event: Susan McCraith's fundraising

Skin Cancer Research Fund

Skin Cancer is one of the most common cancers and numbers are increasing rapidly. Most forms of skin cancer are not life threatening but the most serious form malignant melanoma can be deadly. This charity funds research into the causes, prevention and treatment of skin cancer.

Charity Registration No. 284582


20 December 2011 - Final entry. I have just donated the last amount of cash I have been given and sent off the last cheques. I have swum 980 lengths (out of 1,416) on the 'way back' but had to stop as the second mole I had removed was also a melanoma so I had to have a wide local excision and cannot swim for a month. However once Christmas is out of the way I shall be back in the pool. Thanks again to everyone who has donated - the grand total raised is £1,334.00 plus a bit of gift aid on the cheques should make it up to £1366.00.

31st October - THE DAY AFTER - ok I have decided to swim back again, so another 22 miles. I won't ask anyone who was sponsoring me by length for any more donations as I don't think that would be fair. I'm just going to record my lengths and give myself a pat on the back when I've done another 22 miles. It's helping me get fitter, thinner and keep motivated. Emma helpfully suggested that I now swim round the world. I looked it up on google and reckoned it would take me 148 years at the rate I'm going so no I won't be doing that. I am just pleased to have raised an amount of money which will be significant to a small charity which supports research in a much-needed area in which I have a vested interest. Thank you to everyone who has supported me. Each donation has spurred me on and I didn't think I would raise as much as this when I started. THANK YOU !! ;)

30th October - FINAL DAY (over a month early!) - I don't normally swim on a Sunday but it was nice to think there would be someone with me in the pool to celebrate so I went with Emma and swam the final 50 lengths. We had a laugh and said how I was now standing on the shore in Calais on the sand (or mud!). I'm going to think tonight about swimming 'back'.

Last stages now. Did 50 last Saturday while Emma and a friend had fun. Then 54 on Monday. Tuesday 54, Weds and Thurs in Cornwall. Friday and today 54 so only 50 to go!

21 Oct - busy week. Came back from Scotland on Sunday night. Swam 50 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and this morning. Getting closer now. Trying to finish before 10 Nov when I will have another mole removed and won't be able to swim for a few days.

Mon 10 Oct - I spoke too soon. Got to the swimming pool but the showers weren't working and decided I couldn't go to work with chlorined sticky hair, so no swim! Good job I went yesterday after all. Also don't think I will be able to go tomorrow as got to get to airport, so I'll have to hit the magic 1000 lengths when I get back next week. In the meantime I will still be in the water, just fishing instead...

Sun 9 Oct - I said I wouldn't swim on a Sunday but I thought it would be good to take my daughter and her friend swimming. Despite there being no lanes and I had to swim round a few youngsters, I still managed to do 50 lengths which takes me up to a total of 900 so far. I may just be able to hit 1000 before I go to Scotland on Tuesday. At this rate I may be able to finish before I go to Burgundy mid November. I am seriously considering technically swimming the 22 miles back again as If you really did swim the Channel you wouldn't want to get stuck in France would you? But I'd have to set a different deadline. Anyway I'm not promising anything at this stage...

Sat 8 Oct - A quick 50 lengths before going to watch my daughter in a hockey match.

Fri 7 Oct - Overdid it today (60 lengths) trying to make up for only 40 yesterday. Also short of time so tried to do breaststroke both ways as it's quicker but it gives me backache. Felt drained and yawned a lot of the day - also haven't been eating enough probably.

Thurs 6 Oct - Overslept so could only do 40 lengths before we had to vacate the pool for the school. However I have now done 740 lengths which is just over half way! Also I went to see the lady who runs the Skin Cancer charity at Frenchay Hospital, Caroline Newton (see photo) and she told me all about it. Their primary function is to provide pump prime funding for research into melanoma (the most life-threatening form of skin cancer killing around 2000 people per year in the UK - twice as many as cervical cancer for which there is a screening process). For example, initial research was funded to look into the Shields Index as a better indicator of the likelihood of melanoma spreading to other parts of the body via the lymphatic system. They used a small sample of around 100 tissue samples from Bristol. The results were very interesting and so more funding is now being sought from eg. The Wellcome Trust and pharmaceutical companies to do a much bigger trial across the country. So SCaRF is essentially a small charity, raising around £50k a year and spending it on research. This means my donation so far of around £1300 will make an impact which is good. After my meeting I went for my 3 monthly checkup with the skin cancer nurse. They want to take off the inziest-winziest mole you have ever seen just as a precaution because it has been itching occasionally. I'm trying to time it so it doesn't interfere with swimming as I will have a couple of stitches in my other shoulder this time.

5 Oct - 50 lengths, not much to report.

4 Oct - It may have been wet outside but the sun was shining on me and I had the pool to myself for 13 out of 50 lengths this morning! A word about nudity in the changing room... Is it me being prudish or is it really on to swan about without a stitch on and everything on show infront of strangers? I escape into the cubicle to change but I got an eyeful this morning and it's quite disconcertingly funny - it reminds me of a Michael McIntyre sketch. Perhaps when I've lost loads of weight I'll be happy to let it all hang slightly out, but for now I'll keep my saddle bags well out of view. By the way had a nice email back from the lady at SCARF who has confirmed that she is receiving regular payments from Justgiving direct into their bank account. To date she has received £1332.50 including the Gift Aid. I'm hoping to pop in on Thursday when I have my 3-monthly checkup.

3 Oct - 50 lengths today. For one glorious, splash-free, peaceful length I had the pool to myself. I have a new tactic to avoid sharing a lane. If I swim in the nearest 'slow' lane where there are steps that jut out across half the lane, then anyone coming in will always prefer to go in one of the other lanes first rather than share with me. I can still swim the full length if I stay over one side. Tactical pool warfare!

30 Sep My parents' 50th Wedding Anniversary so had to do 50 lengths in their honour! My total to date is 550 lengths with 866 to go. Sitting in the hairdresser's now who says I have chlorine build-up and wants to sell me some very expensive shampoo...

29 Sep - don't know what got into me today. Went like a train for 30 lengths then had to take the next 20 a bit more slowly! Anyway reached a bit of a milestone today- now done 500 lengths which is over a third of the way...

28 Sep - Only 40 lengths this morning. Overslept after a dinner party last night and had to cut session short to get to work.

27 Sep - 50 lengths with a hairy man sharing my lane!

26 Sep - 48 lengths. Bit heavy going this morning after not having swum for a few days plus just been to Geisenheim in Germany on a wine trip for the weekend. The Rhine's a long river - I wonder if David Walliams could swim down that and past all the lovely vineyards?

20 Sep - 60 lengths - good going. My stamina is improving but I now have 5 days of not being able to swim. Also I could write a lot about swimming etiquette! You get very territorial about your lane and don't like it being invaded. If it has to be, then the least a person could do is look you in the eye and discuss whether to go (anti)clockwise or take half a lane each - instead of ignoring you and splashing on regardless... And I hate it when you accidentally touch eachother (Mrs Angry this morning...!).

19 Sep - Just done 50 lengths (1st time) as I suddenly realised I'll only be able to swim twice this week.

Day 6 - my lovely daughter came with me today and took a photo and quick video. Did 40 lengths with her telling me I'm not kicking my legs properly for breaststroke. Not got the froggy action more like a pogo kick! Just looked at the video and I am going soooooo slooooowly......

Day 5 - 40 lengths this am. A very fast chap swimming in my lane - made me feel annoyingly slow. I am obsessed with counting the lengths to the point of doing extra just to make sure I haven't missed any... Uploaded a photo of how far I've swum so far.

Day 4 - (no swimming on Day 3 as in London) 42 lengths today. Wish I could swim faster - I plod along while all these younger fitter lot zoom past. Amazing all the swimming aids people use, flippers, floats. My only accessory is my goggles - although a friend told me you can get an MP3 player that you can wear while swimming. Will have to investigate...

Day 2 - the pool was like Piccadilly Circus this morning - 3 people in each lane at one point. Bit hard this morning as I only had 4 hrs sleep plus a headache from last night's tasting and dinner (19 wines just with dinner!). But still managed 40 lengths as I won't be able to swim tomorrow. Got loads of donations yesterday which was brilliant thank you everyone! (Not quite David Walliams - hats off to his heroic swim.)

Day 1 - 40 lengths. Seemed deceptively easy - I think because I had a day off yesterday and also had my first donations to spur me on. Tomorrow I will have had little sleep and could have a hangover so I may sink let alone do 30+...

Text a donation by texting SMCC99 £3 (or £5 or £10) to 70070

Why donate -> What will happen to your money -> My story

Why donate?

* The number of people diagnosed with melanoma has risen four fold in the last 40 years.
* In 2008, more than 10,600 people in the UK were diagnosed with the disease and it is now the second most common cancer in young adults, aged between 15 and 34.
* In 2008, over 2000 people in the UK died from melanoma and there is evidence that this figure will continue to rise as young people who have experienced sun damage through over-exposure to the sun and sunbeds have an increased chance of developing skin cancer later on in life.

What will happen to your money?

Your money will help to fund research into malignant melanoma as well as raise awareness and support sufferers. Click here to see some of the supported projects.

My story - why I have chosen to support this charity

Last year I had a mole removed that turned out to be a malignant melanoma. I had a small chunk taken out of my shoulder and fortunately so far there has been no recurrence. However as anyone who has had one of these things will know, you can spend a lot of time worrying about what's going on inside you.

Well I've decided to stop worrying and channel all this energy into something more positive - like raising some money for the Skin Cancer Research Fund based at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol where I attend for regular check-ups. So I'm going to swim the equivalent of the Channel at my local pool.

I start on 12 September and finish on 4 December. I need to swim 1,416 x 25m lengths. I am away for a couple of those weeks so I will need to swim 30-40 lengths six days a week which I think is just about do-able. I have been training now for a couple of weeks and can do 30 lengths in half an hour before I go to work.

I plan to update this site with my progress every week so do check back to see how far I have swum.


Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate - I raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.


  • I made it!
  • A bit puffed out...
  • Caroline Newton from SCaRF +4