Sometimes you just have to step outside yourself and the daily grind you find yourself in, and do things for others to realise what it is you really truly have in your hands. I find when I'm doing something for someone, I am at my most happiest. I feel I'm serving a purpose in my life that conjurs up feelings of self worth, gratitude, happiness and most of all kindness - something which I truly believe this world is really lacking in. It makes me look deep within myself and really analyse my life and not take what I have for granted nor get to bogged down with those things which I dont have. That's not to say I don't slip up and fall back into old ways but I feel that by doing a good deed, it makes me feel like a better person because I know I'm helping someone who is struggling.
So last weekend - myself and a few friends took part in the MS 24hr Megaswim. The feelings I got by accomplishing this goal were on par with what I had accomplished with the Cycling Cerebellums ride to Melbourne. I felt so proud and honoured to know that by doing what I was doing it was helping friends and others who are living with Multiple Sclerosis.
Did you know that "Diagnosis of MS is typically between 20 and 40 years of age, although onset of symptoms may be earlier. Three times more women are affected by MS than men and it is more common in cooler climates.
In Australia, over 21,000 people currently have MS however this figure is increasing as diagnosis methods become more advanced.
One in 20 Australians will be touched by MS through a family member, colleague or friend who is living with the disease". ~http://www.megaswim.com/Default.aspx~
So it's with this in mind - knowing full well that I have close friends with this condition that I am spurred on to want to do whatever it is I can to help.
We called ourselves "Team Stay Afloat" - a quirky yet original name - which the team really loved. And we stood by that name for the whole 24hrs. When we first got there we were given a few sheets to check off. These had 100m increment boxes up to every kilometre that you had to check off. The first page went to 53km and when I saw this I remember giggling and thinking "yeah sure, 53km is alot". But then the second page went to 110km or so and I thought "who can get to 110km swimming". Obviously the organisers knew something I didn't, and that's why they are the organisers.
The motivation and camaraderie within our team was amazing. We would cheer eachother on through the laps and high five eachother on the cross over from one swimmer to the next and within each of us I think we had such a sense of pride with what we were achieving - not just in a swimming sense but also in a fundraising and compassionate sense. We knew that by every lap we were swimming we were putting another dollar into the fight against MS.
It's hard not to feel driven and compelled to get in that water even when it felt like it was 20 degrees celsius at 3:30 in the morning. Because Janet, Todd, Ante and everyone with MS were our driving force. This sign looked over us whilst we did what we did.
As the hours clicked down and the final minutes were being counted we turned out 30min swim slots turned into a 200m relay to wake us all up - and that it did perfectly. The team voted me in to swim us across the finish line and the magic 24hr mark - what an honour it was. I will post up a video shortly of it -so stay tuned to this space.
It was so much fun doing this and cant wait to do it all again. Team Stay Afloat swam a whopping 78.4km and raised and awesome $2862.70 for people with Multiple Sclerosis. We simply couldn't be prouder if we tried. And whats even better still is that we are going to be back next year with not only 1 Team Stay Afloat but 2 Team Stay Afloats. That means more laps and more fundraising to be had. Yeahhhhh baby.
Team Stay Afloat Rules