Former Team GB Olympic and England swimmer, Ricky Burrell, will officially start our Swim for Hope event on Saturday 4th September.
Forty swimmers will be taking part in the 1.3-mile cross Solent swim between Hurst Point in Hampshire and Colwell Bay on the Isle of Wight as part of our 40th birthday events, and to raise money to support Isle of Wight residents living with cancer.
The event is being organised by Mike Sizer-Green, the manager of our Newport-based Isle of Wight Cancer Wellbeing Centre, and Michelle Salsbury who volunteers and fundraises at the Centre. Both will be swimming across the Solent.
Mike was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2013 and used Wessex Cancer Trust’s Daisy Bus to get to his appointments at Southampton General Hospital. He says that many of those taking part in the swim have their own personal experience of cancer:
“Whilst swimming the Solent is a huge challenge in itself, it’s important to remember that this represents way more than a sponsored swim. That stretch of water, to me and so many others who have traversed it day after day for cancer treatment, represents a major hurdle. It’s a daily challenge – a nightmare sometimes, and often the reasons why some may elect not to undergo treatment. Organising an event like this is a huge undertaking, and we’re particularly grateful to event sponsor The Collection by Hose Rhodes Dickson, and everyone who is helping to support us from a logistics and safety point of view; particularly Dave Lutas of the Isle of Wight Canoe Club, the Freshwater Independent Lifeboat, Needles Pleasure Cruises, ABP Port of Southampton, and the various safety kayakers who will be escorting the swimmers.”
Michelle explains what the event means to her:
“I learnt from a young age how cancer can affect a family. When I was 12, my Nan was diagnosed with lung cancer and came to live with us. Five years later my Stepdad was diagnosed with cancer and had to travel to Southampton for treatment. Since then, other friends and family have been diagnosed with cancer. Some have survived and, sadly, some haven’t. Over the past eight years, I’ve tried to do what I can to help raise money for Wessex Cancer Support – from running and singing to directing cars at the Drive-In cinema.
“In 2019, I became very unwell and was diagnosed with a spontaneous CSF leak. Put simply, I was losing spinal fluid which was starving my brain. After a procedure, I slowly started to get back some mobility and an interest in getting active again, and I chose cold water swimming. This was mainly to take on Wessex Cancer Support’s New Year Day dip, but I’d also read about the benefits of pain relief. A year on, I wanted a new challenge and so suggested a Solent swim. It all feels real now and I’m overwhelmed how quickly it sold out!”
Please note that in the event of bad weather the swim will be moved to Saturday 18th September.
We would still love to find a few more kayakers to escort our swimmers. If you can help, please sign up here
To find out more about the event, click here.