So... come 30th July 2021 (give or take a few days as it'll be weather dependant) I'm going to have a bash at swimming to France! I'm going to be abiding by all Channel Swimming rules so it will just be me in a cossie and swim cap with a pair of goggles and ear plugs and I won't be allowed to touch the boat or anybody from the time I start to the time I finish. I'm fairly new to sea swimming, I'm not that great at it and so to be fair, it's a fairly bold thing for me to contemplating.
There are a lot of variables when it comes to Channel swimming and unfortunately there are many, much more accomplished swimmers than myself who have not been successful in their crossings. Not because they didn't train hard enough, or weren't competent. It was nothing more than bad luck. The "club" of English Channel swimmers is fairly exclusive and to date more people have successfully summitted Everest than have completed the 21 (ish) mile crossing. I'm a little fish, putting myself in a big pond, but I intend on giving it my best shot, and will be training my arse off between now and then to give myself the best chance.
English Channel Swimming is an expensive past time and so there will be only one attempt. It's likely to take anywhere from 16 hours up. It's definitely going to be cold, there will definitely be jellyfish, there will definitely be seaweed, there will definitely be big boats and there will definitively be a lot of salt (which plays havoc with the tongue and nose). It might also be dark, it might be rough, there might be other living things bigger than me and all of the above scares the bejesus out of me. But having said all of that, wouldn't it be awesome if I went and did it? Wouldn't it be awesome if I could raise a heap of money for two incredible charities along the way?
I'm sure most of you know by now when Luke, my son, was 5 years old, he was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer affecting his middle ear/brain. It was a pretty horrific time (to put it mildly), that I don't want to dwell on too much, but during this time he was looked after by an amazing team of people on the Piam Brown Ward at Southampton Hospital. It's safe to say that he wouldn't be here without them and to this day he still remains under their watchful eye. Piam Brown Ward will be the first charity I will be fundraising for and there is a link below to donate. The ward uses charity funds to kit out the ward with all sorts of fun things to help the kids pass time while staying there. They also put on fun days out and parties for the kids too and it is a very worthy cause.
The second charity I’m fundraising for is Dreamflight UK. Most people believe that the battle ends when the cancer goes into remission. Sadly, especially with children who are still developing, this is not the case and the cancer and treatment take a big toll on their young bodies. Six years after beating the cancer the effects of radiating Luke’s young brain started to show and it was clear that the pituitary gland, that they had fought so hard to preserve, had been damaged with radiotherapy. Luke has had to begin treatment for various pituitary insufficiencies and well…. It’s pretty shit! It will require lifelong treatment and management and understandably it has taken a lot of getting used to for Luke. It was at the point of this most recent diagnosis that Luke's consultant, without a word to us, referred him to Dreamflight. At this point I hadn’t heard of them, but a phone call out of the blue informing me they wanted to take Luke to Florida for 10 days of fun triggered me to do some research! Basically they are a charity that each year takes a group of youngsters with various lifechanging illnesses on the holiday of a lifetime (I’m not exaggerating), without parents, to Florida. They have a huge team of Doctors, nurses, physios and BA flight crew that escort and look after the kids. Dreamflight is not just a holiday; it does something that medicine can’t. The children leave their families behind giving them an opportunity to discover independence, confidence, and a whole new outlook on life. Often for the first time, these children realise that they are not alone, and they are not the odd one out. They see children around them who have also suffered, they gain perspective, and experience things they never thought possible. It was such a incredible experience for Luke and there is a link below to donate to help them continue their work.
I would really love for any donations to be split equally between the two charities, but please donate to whichever charity you choose below! A huge, huge thank you in advance! X x