Salina Christmas is raising £250 for Marie Curie Cancer care through her participation at the ITU World Triathlon 2014. For this modest sum, the non-swimmer is willing to swim the open water of Serpentine for a good cause.
My triathlon training is entering its fifth month. I still can’t swim like a fish, although what I do in the water now could be described as “swimming”. A frank chat with the coach informs me that I am better off being a duathlete than a triathlete. I could bail out now.
But I can’t.
I am raising a modest amount of £250 for Marie Curie Cancer Care, the charity dedicated to the care of terminally ill patients, by competing in the PruHealth World Triathlon 2014. There are two reasons for this doing this:
Firstly, I am doing this in the memory of my only brother who passed away from Burkitt’s Lymphoma in 2005. He was lucky enough to be looked after by his wife and my parents in his final days, but I understand that some patients had not been as lucky. Marie Curie has 2000 nurses and nine hospices dedicated to palliative care. Some £93 million annually is spent on patient care as well as research and development.
Spare some change, please
The £250 that I am raising is a drop in the ocean, but it is the least I could do in encouraging you to support Marie Curie’s mission.
Secondly, as some of you would have known, in 2011, I had a brush with very early stage cancer. It had cost me my health and my job. After the Department of Work and Pensions said I was “fit to work” barely weeks after my operation, I went back to work at an online casino – the only job going for me at the height of the double-dip recession. I was not feeling 100% fit but adamant enough to get physically healthy. I bought myself an entry-level road race bicycle for less than £500, devised a three-year plan to be a runner, a cyclist and a swimmer – not necessarily in that order – and here I am in the first year of that program. I got my all-clear for the second consecutive year in 2013.
Abandon hope, keep the faith
I swam for the first time to the deep end of the swimming pool in July 2013. I cycled up Swain’s Lane on my heavy bicycle as part of my hill-climbing regime in that same summer. I did the London Duathlon in September 2013, not knowing how to train for anything. I hate cross-country competitions but I did it anyway. I found inspiration from people I sell shoes to, such as Dominic Rohan-Gates, the ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Champion for 2012, who took up swimming only eight months before his first triathlon. For my crazy efforts, I have my coaches, Ms Stephanie Ellis and Mr Sid Wills, to thank for.
Last Sunday, during one of the additional swimming drills that I had to take in order to improve my technique, I noticed, as I swam to the deep end of the swimming pool, that I passed this sign on the wall: “1.5m. Non-swimmers do not go beyond this point”.
And then I passed the 3m mark. And the 2.5m mark.
How did that happen? “Abandon hope,” Miss Ellis said with regards to floating, “but keep the faith”.
Could I implore you to donate towards the £250 that I am raising for Marie Curie Cancer Care? I would swim the Serpentine on a cold, rainy day on the back of your generosity and support.
To support Marie Curie Cancer Care, please donate at https://www.justgiving.com/glue