If you would like to follow this journey, you can on Facebook at:
Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to an email update list
I remember the day I told my family that I was swimming the English Channel. We were walking into the Mt Martha Life Saving Club to attend the wake of a very special friend of our family, Judy Brown. Mum and dad met Judy and her husband Wilson at the golf club they joined on arrival in Mt Eliza some 30 years ago from Fernihurst (it is in the middle of nowhere in central Victoria) and I grew up with their daughter Bec. We tragically lost Judy to breast cancer way too early and we were there to celebrate her beautiful life with so many other great friends of mum and dad's.
I told Pete and Jen, my parents, about this channel bizzo. Within an hour, news had spread like wild fire, I think Pete was the main culprit, and I had so many people coming up to me to ask what it was all about. Anyone would have thought I'd already done it. So I decided there and then then I would do something unfamiliar to me and connect this swim to a cancer charity to raise awareness and funds.
Fast forward two years to when I was driving home and heard on the radio that a teenager was critically injured when jumping off the pier at Half Moon Bay. Honestly, I heard it, but I didn't hear it until two days later when dad told me that the boy, Will, was the son of a girl I went to school with, Emma Gleeson, who's parents are also long time friends of mum and dad's. I was gutted. I couldn't believe it. Emma's dad, also called Pete, is and always has been a great supporter of mine. In fact, we can hold Pete almost responsible for me being in to open water swimming now.
I swam at school, not exceptionally well, but I trained and earned house colours for it and represented at inter school level. I played water polo where Pete was the coach. But it wasn't until I left school when I really got the taste for it and Pete was instrumental in that. He's a Sydney surf life saver from way back and we use to swim around the cliffs and over the rocks down in Mt Eliza and I would sh#t myself swimming over massive sting rays and other sea life while Pete calmly swam next to me. We went on to swim a Bloody Big Swim together and Pete was to paddle for me the year it got cancelled.
So, long story short, after much thought I have decided to not only raise funds and awareness for the Walter and Eliza Institute, but also the Will Murray Trust. I'm so sure that if I had the chance to sit down with Judy and explain why I've decided to do this, she would support me 100% as she too was a very close friend of Pete and Wendy's. Both charities are very personal to me and I am looking forward to playing a very small part in supporting them.