Press release 19/02/2014

15 LOCAL SWIMMERS TO ATTEMPT EXTREME “SWIM FOR HOPE”

Fifteen swimmers from all walks of life go on standby on the 1st of March for one of the most extreme open water swimming challenges in South African waters, in support of the Little Fighters Cancer Trust, a local charity that offers support to children with cancer and their families.  The group will attempt the 8km rounding of Cape Point, stretching from Diaz Beach on the western side of Cape Point with its notoriously turbulent waters, to Buffels Bay on the Eastern side, taking swimmers through the point where the two oceans (Atlantic and Indian) meet.

The “2014 Swim For Hope” follows on celebrated South African musician and record-holding marathon swimmer Carina Bruwer’s dramatic solo rounding of Cape Point in April last year, her first open water swim since starting a family in 2007, which saw her battle extreme conditions and left her with severe hypothermia after finishing just 16 minutes shy of her record set in 2004.  Having raised R17,500 for the Little Fighters Cancer Trust last year, Carina announced that Swim For Hope will return in the form of an invitational group swim this year, with fourteen experienced open water swimmers joining her on the “most spectacular open water swimming experiences in the world”.  She says: “I’m looking forward to sharing this very special open water experience with fellow swimmers, while swimming as a group as opposed to a soloist will undoubtedly result in an even more significant fundraising effort.  We have already raised over R30,000 for Little Fighters since launching 2014’s event and I’m optimistic about exceeding our goal of R100,000!”

All moneys raised will go towards the Little Fighters Cancer Trust’s BAG OF HOPE Project. A bag of hope provides essentials for both the Child with Cancer and his/her mother or bedside care-giver, with items such as toiletries, pyjamas, non-perishable food, educational toys, blankets and sanitary products, making a challenging and prolonged hospital stay just a bit more comfortable. LFCT is operational in 11 main paediatric oncology treatment centres throughout South Africa, including the Western Cape, Gauteng, Kwazulu Natal, Eastern Cape and Free State.

T h e   S w i m m e r s

Carina Bruwer (34), who leads the multiple award-winning instrumental pop group Sterling EQ and holds records for numerous swims including the English Channel (fastest SA woman), Gibraltar Straits (fastest woman), False Bay (fastest SA woman) and many more, is joined by 12 men and 2 women aged between 24 and 61, all of whom have significant open water swimming experience. Collectively Capetonians Justin Coetzee (44), Keith Struthers (55), Monika Hayes (50), Lindsay de Kock (55), Anthony Pearse (44), Martin Vleggaar (36), Neil Hopkins (32), Chris Westcott (33), Charl Cilliers (45), Clinton Le Sueur (40) and Rouen Smit (24) share dozens of successful Robben Island crossings plus a few records, while Johannesburg swimmers Colin Gluch (46) and Richard Child (61) have also braved the Cape waters for a number of crossings, while Richard also has an English Channel crossing to his name.

T h e   C a p e   P o i n t   s w i m

As opposed to the Robben Island and even the English Channel swimming crossings which have been conquered by thousands of swimmers to date, only some 2 dozen swimmers have successfully completed the 8km rounding of Cape Point (also known as “Cape of Storms”) since the first rounding by world-renowned American swimmer Lynne Cox in 1979. Factors contributing to this relatively low number include the great white shark population and other dangerous sea life in the area, cold and rough seas around the point, dangerous waves off Diaz beach, and the general inaccessibility of the terrain.

S w i m   F o r   H o p e   2 0 1 4

The Cape Long Distance Swimming Association will officiate over the swim, which is to be done in accordance with international open water swimming rules: Only a single swimsuit (no wetsuit), cap and goggles may be worn, and swimmers have to start and end on land without ever making physical contact with any members of the support crew or the boat.   Swimmers will be supported and guided by support boats equipped with Shark Shields (an electronic shark repellent device), while volunteer shark spotters will be in position on the cliffs above the swim route.

The swimmers will be on standby to swim from 1 March, and the swim will be called when conditions are most favourable.  The waiting period can be anything from a few days to weeks; regular updates will follow. Members of the public, as well as corporates are invited to follow Swim For Hope’s social media interfaces (facebook and twitter) for live updates from the water on the day of the swim and are encouraged to sponsor and donate, using the “BackaBuddy” website (www.backabuddy.co.za). Corporate sponsors can also contact Little Fighters Cancer Trust directly on 073 729 6155 or mandie@littlefighters.org.za for organizational information such as taxation and BEE benefits, as the organization is a registered NPO with PBO status.

WEB LINKS:

Swim For Hope: www.swimforhope.co.za
Little Fighters Cancer Trust: www.littlefighters.org.za
Carina Bruwer: www.carina.co.za / www.sterlingeq.co.za

SOCIAL MEDIA

Swim for Hope:  www.facebook.com/lfctswimforhope   /   www.twitter.com/lfctswimforhope
Little Fighters Cancer Trust: http:/www.facebook.com/Little.Fighters  /  www.twitter.com/LFCancerTrust
Carina Bruwer:  www.facebook.com/carinabruwerofficial  /  www.facebook.com/sterlingeqofficial

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC will be administered on: http://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/swim-for-hope

CONTACT:
For media information, photos and interview requests please contact:
Mandie Erasmus
Project Manager, Little Fighters Cancer Trust
Phone:  +27 73 729 6155|  Email: mandie@littlefighters.org.za |

-Ends-

N O T E S   T O   T H E   E D I T O R

  1. The Little Fighters Cancer Trust supports children diagnosed with cancer and their families, by offering wide variety of individualized assistance, including, but not restricted to, provision of food and groceries, transport, clothing, furnishings, bedding, medication, medical equipment and 24 hour emotional support.
  2. Parents of diagnosed children often lose or leave their jobs to be able to provide the special care and support required, which, together with the huge emotional strain of having a terminally sick child, often disables the family financially and emotionally. Little Fighters steps in to help create a support system in order for the children and their families to maintain their dignity, and with it, provide hope.
  3. Promoting and advocating Childhood Cancer Awareness is another of Little Fighters Cancer Trust’s priorities. Childhood Cancer is responsible for more child deaths than HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis combined. (South African Tumor Registry, 2011) Less than one third of actual childhood cancer cases are recorded in South Africa. Many children are misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all due to a lack of awareness concerning the Early Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer. An increase in Awareness, also among medical staff, will lead to earlier diagnosis of childhood cancer cases, resulting in a higher percentage of survivors.
  4. One of the organization’s most tangible projects is “Bag of Hope”, through which they distribute bags filled with essential provisions to cancer children and their mothers at hospitals in the main Pediatric Oncology treatment centers in the Western Cape and Gauteng.  Each bag costs R650, and should Swim For Hope reach its goal of R100,000, LFCT would be able to support pediatric 3 hospital wards with Bags of Hope for the cancer child and his / her mother.  Bags are individualized according to the needs of the specific little patient.
  5. Sterling EQ is a South African instrumental pop group lead by Carina Bruwer on flute, with Luca Hart on electric violin and Ariella Caira on electric cello.  The three-piece has performed over 800 shows in 11 countries, released 3 albums and a live DVD, and won 3 major music awards, most notably a 2011 South Afircan Music Award.

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