Next July I’ll be attempting a solo crossing of the English Channel, and somehow I’ve managed to convince my older brother Matt and mate Sam Gilbert to join me for a duo relay swim at the same time!
As part of our ongoing preparation, we’re covering distances of 30 km or more each week while training with squads both in the pool and in open water. The Channel is a swim of about 40 km that can vary wildly depending on tides-- for us this will take around 13 hours non-stop in 16-degree water! Other challenges include negotiating sewage, freight ships, and stinging jellyfish. Lastly, it is our hope that immigration officials in Calais don’t take a post-Brexit disliking to channel swimmers washing up on their shores…
One of the nicest aspects of the training has been putting on the better part of ten kilos of body fat for insulation, which may or may not have come with a lifelong addiction to Milo. The training has been thoroughly enjoyable, thanks to the support of the coaches and swimmers in the VladSwim Squad, as well as the equally important support from my parents and brothers. No breathless joke told between sets in the pool, nor any carb-rich meal has gone unappreciated.
All three of us work and do research in medicine and medical science, and we’d like to use this adventure as an opportunity to raise money for two charitable causes that we care deeply about. The first is the Cooper Rice-Brading Foundation, dedicated to funding research towards a cure for sarcoma, which makes up one in five childhood cancers. The CRBF also strives to improve the cancer journey of young sarcoma patients and their families. Our family friend Coops lost his battle to the disease in 2017, during his last year of school. His courage, and that of the many heroes linked to the CRBF, is a source of inspiration.
The other cause is the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, where Matt and I have helped as volunteers and participated in fly-in fly-out clinics to remote communities. Matt, Sam and I have a keen interest in contributing to Indigenous healthcare, as the gap between care provided for the Indigenous community and the Australian community at large is still so wide. We plan to make more direct contributions once we have finished our medical training -- for now we will do our best to raise funds for an important and much-needed initiative.
We’d be stoked if you could give to either or both of these causes! Thanks in advance for your generosity.
Donate to the Cooper Rice-Brading Foundation at:
Donate to the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health at: https://crowdfunding.sydney.edu.au/project/13264