A WOMAN from Midlothian is taking on a swimming marathon this month to raise money for a ward which helped her mother overcome cancer.
Samantha Hendry, 33, a radiographer at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, began her challenge on May 1 and will continue to swim a mile a day at Lasswade Centre to complete her marathon 26.2 miles.
I would love to hit my target of £800, and I’d be ecstatic to hit £1000. I’m just trying to get people to support the ward as much as possible.Samantha Hendry
Speaking last week after her first few days in the pool, she said: “Some days I have been a little over a mile a day. A mile is 67 lengths of Lasswade, I have done 68, 70, 88 and 68 again. It takes about 45/50 minutes to do it. It’s not fast, I just keep plodding along.
“I’m sure the lifeguards think I’m a bit mad.
“Originally I was going to swim 22 miles as I have always fancied swimming the Channel and that’s the distance. Then I thought, being Scottish, why don’t I do the length of Loch Ness – 23 miles. But my husband suggested changing it to a marathon over 26 days.
“So I thought, ‘well it is supposed to be a challenge’, and something people read about and think ‘actually, that’s not easy to do’.
“So I thought I would do that and challenge my body. So far it has been all right, but we will see how I feel at the end.
“I’m just going back to work having been off on maternity leave. I have got a one-year-old.
“My husband and our son, George, came to the first swim, which was a surprise. They met me at the end.
“My husband does triathlons so I have always been the one cheering him on. I have got lots of support from family and friends, and people at work. For example, my neighbour is going to look after my son on Friday mornings so I can go swimming.”
Samantha is doing the challenge to raise money for the Aberdeen and North Centre for Haematology, Oncology and Radiotherapy (Anchor) unit which treated her mother, Nicky Fyfe. She had stage four lymphoma, and went into remission in 2014.
Samantha said: “I thought that now she is better I wanted to do something, but I split my pelvis while pregnant. I wanted to do something to spread the word about them.
“Yes, it’s in Aberdeen but I just wanted to show that there are these units available. I once walked a marathon, I didn’t fancy running one, and I don’t want a sore bum from cycling. It just seemed like swimming was the natural thing to do.
“I contacted the Anchor unit to ask if I could do it for them and they were delighted. They had never had anyone swim a marathon for them before. I would love to hit my target of £800, and I’d be ecstatic to hit £1000. I’m just trying to get people to support the ward as much as possible. I’m just really pleased that people have been giving so far.”
You can donate at www.justgiving.com/samhendry.