A man from Helensburgh is swimming the Jersey coastline to raise money for Beatson Cancer Charity, following a friend’s cancer diagnosis.
43-year old Gary Potter will be one of three team members taking on the 42-mile challenge at the end of this month.
Each member of the relay team will swim just under 15 miles each - which is the equivalent of 1000 lengths of an average local swimming pool – and hope to complete it in less than 18 hours.
Gary says he’s supporting Beatson Cancer Charity following his friend Donna Hicks’ experience at the Beatson. Donna was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2014, which is an incurable bone marrow cancer.
He said: “Donna was the driving factor behind choosing to fundraise for Beatson Cancer Charity, but there’s been quite a few other reasons too.
“We know someone who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and one of our key suppliers was diagnosed with cancer and he’s been told he only has a couple of years left.
“He was very touched to hear that I was doing this for Beatson Cancer Charity because he’s had a lot of care and support from you guys.
“My daughter and Donna’s daughter are thick as thieves, the two of them have gone through nursery together, school and dancing - so we know Donna and the family well and try and get involved in various fundraisers as much as we can.”
Gary says he’s always taken part in challenges similar to this, but this will be the first time he takes one on for charity.
He said: “I’ve done a couple of crazy challenges over the years and each time I’ve done it, I’ve always kind of regretted not being organised beforehand to do a bit of fundraising.
“I just think ‘why am I putting myself through this without trying to give somebody some sort of benefit?’”
Gary will be flying out to Jersey on 26th July and hopes the challenge will go ahead on 28th July, but this is dependent on the weather in Jersey.
The other two relay team members consist of a mother and daughter from Thorntonhall, who are fundraising separately.
Gary says he’s become more aware of cancer since reaching his forties and is hoping his fundraising will help support more cancer patients in the future.
He said: “I’ve got to the age now that I’m in my forties where 10 or 15 years ago, you were aware of cancer, of course you were – but it was people’s aunties and grans.
“If I can do something separately to help out a bit then I will - I’ve got to that age where you start knowing people first-hand that are being diagnosed with cancer or are recovering from it.
“I’m very conscious that cancer touches all ages, but it was just that kind of feeling that there wasn’t really anybody that close to me that I was aware of - but certainly over the last few years it’s become more and more at the forefront of my mind.”
Maisie McCormick, community fundraising manager at Beatson Cancer Charity, said: “We are very grateful to Gary for his support – this is an incredible challenge to take on, I was flabbergasted when I heard about it from Donna.
“His fundraising will help us to support so many patients and families across Glasgow and the west.
“We’re excited to hear all about Gary’s challenge once he’s returned home safely.”
You can support Gary with his challenge here.