A call to paddlers and others

Paul in trainingIf you are a sea kayaker in the west of Scotland, your assistance in sought in a special event targeted for 23 June 2012 (weather dependent). The event is a swim across the Clyde and kayaking safety support is being requested. This is a swim with a purpose that is close to my heart.

Paul Kerr is a former Royal Marine Commando who has always prided himself in being a fit and able individual. At the age of 26, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a condition which has given him his own considerable personal battles to fight. At the time of diagnosis, he foresaw a future filled with worst case scenarios involving wheelchairs, home carers and general disability. With the advancement of medicine, as well as improved awareness of the role of nutrition, lifestyle and a positive mindset – and despite having endured significant symptoms – Paul continues to challenge himself in defiance of those initial fears.  Two years ago, he completed the UK’s 24 Hour Three Peaks Mountain Challenge in 22 hours and 30 minutes. This year, with some friends, he is going to swim across the Clyde from Cloch Lighthouse to the Breakwater off Dunoon Pier, a distance of 1.4 nm.

Three Peaks ChallengeThe purpose of this swim is to try and show another side of living with MS to newly diagnosed sufferers, and to encourage those who are coming to terms with such a diagnosis.

Paul is also raising funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre, an organisation which provides excellent information resources and support to those with MS.

Some readers will know that I also received this diagnosis some 3 years ago. I won’t ever forget the ferry journey home from my hospital appointment as I wept over visions of a melted future.  One of my first priorities was to search for any information I could find about people who were able to somehow continue doing what they loved whilst living with MS. To me, this was almost more important than researching the condition and its treatment. Of course, the worst case scenarios leapt out at me at every turn, and it was only through grasping on to the stories and efforts of people such as Paul that I kept myself out of an abyss of despair. I would very much like to help pass this along.

In support of Paul, around 20 swimmers are anticipated to participate. He is co-ordinating with Clyde Coast Guard and Clydeport, as well as organising RIB safety cover and media coverage (in particular via the Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre).  Full details will be confirmed as the date approaches.

If you’d like to join in, please give me a shout, leave a comment or use the contact form. Whether or not you can make it,  you can sponsor Paul –  his JustGiving page is here. You don’t even have to be a sea kayaker to do that!

Your help is greatly appreciated.