Mark O'Brien

Mark's World Record Attempt for Motor Neurone Disease (ALS)

Fundraising for Motor Neurone Disease Association
raised of £25,000 target
by 551 supporters
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World Record Attempt for the Longest Unaided Open Water Swim for a Person Living with MND, 24 September 2023
We fund care, campaigning and research to achieve a world free from MND


MND is a rare terminal illness of which there is currently no cure. It impacts the brain, nerves and muscles. It is also commonly known as ALS.

I will be raising much needed funding for MND research who are tirelessly searching for a cure. In addition, funds will also be distributed to the MND association, initially in my home counties of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, I hope to extend this further if we exceed our target! - They give huge support to those living with MND and their families.

On the 17th March 2022 I was diagnosed with MND and this was reconfirmed on the 10th December 2022. Sport has been a huge part of my life from Rugby to Football to Karting to Tennis, however my first love was swimming.

After coming to terms with this, and after sharing with my family and friends, I decided that I wanted to do something positive that would hopefully inspire others living with MND that the "impossible can be possible". I also wanted to raise awareness of this disease and contribute in someway to the tremendous work the MNDA and MND research teams do.

I will be attempting an official world record, (confirmed by the Guinness book of world records) for the longest unaided open water swim for a person living with MND. This will be on Sunday 24th September starting at 8am and hopefully finishing around 4-5 hours later. The venue is Denham water ski club which is about 15-minutes from Heathrow. The distance will be 10.5km (10,500 meters).

Due to the progressive physical and mental impact on me from MND, this is an absolute one shot attempt! On the day, I will have health professional support, my open water swim coach (Alex Walker), and oxygen to assist me when needed.

I will be joined by my children, Lauren, David and Georgia for the final stages of the swim, they are a tower of love and support alongside my mum, family, friends and colleagues. I will be posting progress updates and photos on this page.

I am personally inspired by the poem "Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night". I am immensely grateful for what life has given me and I intend to live the remainder of my life in the most positive way I can.

Thank you for considering a donation. Mark,

About the charity

The MND Association focuses on improving access to care, research and campaigning for those living with or affected by MND in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. If you or a loved one need practical or emotional support, call our Connect Helpline on 0808 802 6262, Mon to Fri between 10am and 4pm.

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