Penny Bower, a keen swimmer from Wirral, with the help of family and friends, collectively swam an incredible 46 miles (2982 lengths) – just over the equivalent distance of the English Channel and back- to raise awareness of the UK’s fifth biggest cancer killer; pancreatic cancer. The event took place last weekend at West Kirby Concourse with 42 other swimmers who joined Penny in her challenge, helping to raise over £3,500 for national charity Pancreatic Cancer Action.
Penny was motivated to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer after losing her father, Mike Bower, to the disease just 4 weeks after diagnosis in 2015. Mike’s Widow, Sue, also had a big part in making the weekend a success by holding a cake, tombola and bric-a-brac sale that raised over £600 to contribute to the total.
Penny says: “Our Dad was a popular guy and well known in the local area as a retired Farmer. During the event a member of the public approached us, recognising the picture of our Dad by the side of the pool and asked if she could become involved and swam over 100 lengths in one go!”
“This whole event started from one of my last conversations with Dad before he died. Dad would always take an interest in how many lengths I’d swum since taking this up as a past time and encouraged me, as my stamina increased and I did more lengths.
“I’d already signed up to do a Sky Dive for a charity supported by work shortly after Dad died and promised Dad I would do a sponsored swim for him. I’m so pleased to have completed this and never imagined it to be on this grand scale, initially thinking to do it on my own and after some thought I wanted to make it into a fun family event for my family and friends.”
“I would like to thank the amazing staff at West Kirby Concourse for supporting me in this challenge by letting us use the pool after closing and sectioning off lanes on both days, there was a real sense of unity from everyone!”
Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate (at just 4%) of all common cancers which hasn’t changed for over 50 years, with 26 people dying a day from the disease. Pancreatic Cancer Action is committed to working towards earlier diagnosis of the disease so that surgery, currently the only cure, is made available to the sufferer. Ultimately this will lead to improving survival rates.