Ai­dan’s swim raises thou­sands for St Joseph’s


Bray People - - NEWS - By MARY FOG­A­RTY

AI­DAN O’Toole, fa­ther of cham­pion swim­mer Gary, did him­self and his fam­ily proud on Satur­day morn­ing at the Glen­view Ho­tel.

He swam 60 lengths non-stop and raised more than enough for a triobike for St Joseph’s nurs­ing home in Shankill.

Ai­dan’s wife Kaye has been a res­i­dent there for the past year. The money raised from the swim is go­ing to­wards a €7,500 triobike for St Joseph’s.

The bike, which bat­tery-op­er­ated, sim­i­lar to a rick­shaw and can ac­com­mo­date two peo­ple at a time plus the op­er­a­tor.

The event was cap­tured on film by an­other Bray man, Ciaran O’con­nor, and his film pro­duc­tion com­pany New Decade.

The fundraiser, which was only launched five weeks ago, proved a re­sound­ing suc­cess. Peo­ple ral­lied around from all walks of life con­tribut­ing and cul­mi­nat­ing with funds over and above the cost of the triobike, with around €1,400 raised for a sec­ond bike.

Two peo­ple who wished to re­main anony­mous kicked off pro­ceed­ings with very gen­er­ous do­na­tions. Both peo­ple were as­so­ci­ated with Ai­dan’s for­mer swim­ming club Tri­ton.

Friends and con­nec­tions also do­nated, along with busi­nesses, coun­cil­lors, the or­di­nary man and woman on the street, and on­line con­tri­bu­tions. ‘Many thanks to the nurses, car­ers and sup­port­ers of St Joseph’s, who braved the el­e­ments and early start to watch the swim and lend their vo­cal sup­port,’ said Mr O’Toole.

He said that the swim el­e­ment was re­ally just to pro­mote the project.

‘But it worked, with great in­ter­est shown,’ said Mr O’Toole. He said that this was his first ever com­pet­i­tive swim and his fastest, long­est and last.

He did the 60 lengths in a time of 30 min­utes, 43 sec­onds, al­ter­nat­ing from freestyle to back­stroke. This was 15 lengths more than he ever swam be­fore in his life.

The swim also helped erode some mem­o­ries from the past. Only a few years ago fol­low­ing a swim in the same pool Ai­dan had a heart at­tack re­quir­ing two stents and the same week while in hos­pi­tal had a stroke los­ing the use of his left arm and leg plus his speech for 10 hours. Hap­pily, he made a full re­cov­ery.

‘It was also my am­bi­tion to cre­ate more aware­ness about Alzheimer’s and de­men­tia and a plus for se­nior cit­i­zens to show they have a role to play in so­ci­ety as well,’ he said.

‘I also wanted to do this as a per­sonal project with­out in­volv­ing any of our fam­ily for help as they all con­tribute in their own way. Ev­ery­one as­so­ci­ated with St Joseph’s, which is ded­i­cated to de­men­tia care, are bril­liant, fac­ing prob­lems 24/7 with a smile on their face. They are so in­spir­ing and de­serve all the sup­port they can get. This is a con­di­tion with no cure or so­lu­tion af­fect­ing over a half mil­lion peo­ple world­wide and in­creas­ing daily which is wor­ry­ing for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.’

Ai­dan O’Toole swam 60 lengths non-stop on Satur­day morn­ing.

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