A group of determined open water swimmers have taken the plunge into Lake Windermere for the Great North Swim to help raise funds for a 12-year-old boy with a rare muscle-wasting condition.
BBC News reports that the group, made up of ten women and three men, took to Windermere on Saturday 12 June in honour of Will Taylor from Milnthorpe, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Angela Cornthwaite, Will’s aunt, is passionate about supporting him and wanted to get friends together to help support Muscular Dystrophy UK.
“Will my nephew, and a cousin to two of our Great North Swim team members, was diagnosed with DMD aged four,” she said.
“He is now 12 years old and still able to bike and walk, thanks to the research and treatments available. We all know Will through family and friends. We are very aware of the importance of fundraising to keep moving forward with research into new treatments and advances.
“These will hopefully help Will and many others like him, both now and in the future.”
The team’s swimming efforts form part of the Duchenne Research Relay (DRR) fundraising campaign, which sees 17 cyclists ride 380 miles from Great Ormond Street Hospital between 12 and 14 August, passing the baton at every neuromuscular centre in the UK.
Realising she would not be able to manage a 200-miles-a-day cycle challenge, Angela decided on the Great North Swim instead, roping in friend Chris Berry to help persuade friends to join in the fundraising as part of a wider team.
Angela said: “Despite living in the Lake District, we aren’t really what could be classed as keen swimmers!”
She added that none of the group had done any open water swimming before, and training started with water of only 9ºC, leading the team to quickly order neoprene swimsuits to stop them from freezing.
“Ten weeks on and the water is now a balmy 14 degrees,” she said.
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