Wednesday, 10 August 2011
Swimmer Profiles: Ben Gelblum
Thought this year rather than the usual tedious birthday booze marathon, I'd go for one of the most exciting sporting tests of excellence known to man. As there were no spaces for unfit fatsos on the Olympics, it had to be Swim2Bestival!
I managed 7 lengths of the hotel pool in Ibiza last week before being sick in my mouth. Which unfortunately I had to swallow. I'm hoping to get a bit more fit in the next few weeks and conquer the smelly stretch of sewage water that is the Solent. It's only one-way, so it can't be that hard, and for some of it at both ends I'll be able to stand up, I guess...
If watching me drink 7k of sewage isn't enough of a good cause, the charity I'd like to publicise and do this fundraiser for, has some pretty urgent appeals on. It's for young kids battling UK's biggest childhood cancer killer, and as I write there's a few urgent races against time.
The charity is FAN http://www.familiesagainstneuroblastoma.org/ . Neuroblastoma kills more kids in the UK than any other disease. It can be treatable. Donations will help save children's lives. FAN help families get urgent treatment, often abroad & expensive, & campaign to get it here for everyone on the NHS.
FAN is run by ordinary parents who have gone to extraordinary lengths to help these children. I've been touched by their enthusiasm ever since as a journalist, I first interviewed Linza who helped start it up.
Linza told how her son Max was a very handsome, cheeky, loving little boy. At just 5 months old, Linza's son Max was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. No one in the UK could help, so his family launched an appeal to raise the sums needed to take him to America. Max held on but was declared unfit to fly, and just hours later, as if he knew, he quietly slipped away in his Daddy's arms. It is Linza's reaction to her loss that humbled me. Dedicating her life to fight her son's killer. Through FAN, she and parents like her do their utmost every day to fight to give children like Max a chance to survive.