The annual Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim in aid of Cancer Care West will be reimagined this year to help support this vital charity in such a challenging time.
Now in its 15th year, this annual swim usually sees over 150 people swim 13km across Galway Bay each July.
Setting off from Aughinish in Co. Clare and finishing at Blackrock Diving Tower in Salthill, this is one of the longest single day swims in Ireland.
This year, even though the traditional event can’t go ahead, Cancer Care West is inviting people to swim 13km in August to help raise vital funds for their services supporting people with cancer and their families.
“The swim is much more than a fundraiser; it’s the swimming highlight for so many swimmers across Ireland,” said Brian Thornton, Director of Cancer Care West.
“We needed to somehow still come together this year so we have decided that a 13km registered swim could still bring this swim into people’s lives this year.”
“The swimming community in Ireland is a very tight knit one, we have all felt a little displaced through this pandemic, so coming together through the strokes gives us all a sense of place and purpose again.”
Nearly 750 people have taken part in the swim in the past 14 years, going to show how much it has grown in popularity and participation year on year.
In 2019 alone, the event raised over €100,000 for Cancer Care West, making it an extremely crucial fundraiser for the charity, now more than ever.
Cancer Care West has seen a drop in their fundraising this year of 50-60% Brian says, with all face to face fundraisers unable to go ahead due to COVID-19.
“So we are banking on this swim to try and ensure services for 2020.The monies raised will help fund support services for cancer patients and their families through our support centres.”
All year round swimmer Paddy McNamara says the changes to the swim this year “gives a unique opportunity to swimmers of all abilities to do something special for Cancer Care West.”
“This challenge can be completed anywhere in the world so it would be great to see a local and international element to the event”
The Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim will take place throughout August. People are invited to swim 13km, which can be broken up throughout the whole month.
Swimmers are asked to raise €100 each for Cancer Care West this year and will receive a personalised Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim Technical Tee.