Two keen swimmers are braving the elements to take part in 12 gruelling outdoor swimming events to raise vital funds for a charity close to their hearts.
Emily Kell, 31, and Laura-Mai Edwards, 32, are taking part in one event each month over the course of a year to raise money for the motor neurone disease (MND) Association. The money raised will be used to help individuals and families affected by the disease, and to further support research and treatments into MND.
The duo were inspired to take on the challenge after Emily’s dad, Richard Kell, was diagnosed with MND in August 2017 shortly after retiring as a Halesworth GP. MND is a rapidly progressive disease that affects the nervous system and impacts on people’s abilities to walk, communicate, swallow and breathe. There is still no cure for the disease, with average life expectancy ranging from six months to five years from the onset of symptoms.
Emily, who has been a keen swimmer for many years, said: “The MND Association is incredibly important to our family, and we are both driven to support others facing this cruel disease. When we were growing up, Dad was always the first to jump into a cold lake, pool or the sea. We always thought he was mad. As he isn’t able to swim anymore, I wanted to try to be as brave as him by undertaking this challenge.”
The pair have already taken part in 10 swimming events, raising £5,000 so far. They have three swims left and are hoping to hit their £8,000 target by the end of August.
Laura, whose parents live near Walberswick beach, said “we both love swimming, but are not familiar with swimming in freezing temperatures! We had to spend a lot of time preparing for the winter swims, including having daily cold showers and researching cold water immersion techniques.”
Anyone who would like to sponsor Emily and Laura can visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/swimformnd
For more information about the MND Association, visit https://www.mndassociation.org/