A TEACHING assistant from South Derbyshire is to take on an arduous challenge to raise money for a cancer charity.
Julia Dodd, from Overseal, is to take part in a ‘swimathon’ which will see her cover 2,500 metres in the pool in April.
Mrs Dodd has first-hand experience of the devastating impact the disease can have as a shocking number of her family members and close friends have had their lives blighted by the illness.
She will be getting into the water in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care in a bid to help ensure other families don’t have to suffer the same heartbreak she has.
Mrs Dodd said: “Last year brought many challenges on a personal level. After losing my closest friend Liz Evans 10 years ago to cancer, having my mum and grandparents suffer from it, and my stepfather being diagnosed with it last year, it made me realise how fragile life is.
“I’m swimming 2.5k to raise funds for this wonderful charity that gives such amazing support to families and individuals when they are near the end of their life.”
After setting herself a fairly modest target of £100, she quickly discovered that she had underestimated people’s generosity, racing beyond that total in just three days, and is now hoping that she will be at least able to triple that amount by the time she takes on the challenge in Coalville in three months’ time.
If supporting the charity wasn’t enough of a motivation to take on the challenge, Mrs Dodd says she will also be hoping to fulfil another goal of hers.
She added: “I’m hoping to lose five stone in weight this year, so there are many reasons that have inspired me and encouraged me to do this challenge.
“I have never swum in this event before, but my close work colleague, who herself has had close encounters with cancer, suggested I give it a go this year. I am excited and nervous already, but really looking forward to the challenge.”