When we decided to capture some of the inspiring member stories from our Club, we did not for a moment imagine that the first one would be about a child – but surprisingly that is the way it has turned out!

I met Charlie and his Mum in the Club Lounge on a cold January afternoon, after hearing about his remarkable challenge. On the face of it, he is an ordinary, 11-year boy, albeit one with plenty of confidence, and I could see why his school in Great Denham had elected him a Head Boy. He has lots of friends and enjoys playing computer games and follows the football.

Charlie joined Club Towers with his family in August 2018, and they have used the Club a lot since then. Charlie has enjoyed getting on the squash and tennis courts and has also had fun in the swimming pool.

Last year, the sister of Charlie’s best friend at school (Lulu) was sadly diagnosed as having high risk neuroblastoma, a rare and very aggressive cancer. She has been receiving treatment for nearly a year now and it is hoped she will go into remission in May. However, the chances of it coming back are high (50%), and if it does return the survival rate is low – only 10%. A new treatment in the US promises to greatly reduce the risk of relapse.

When Charlie’s Mum decided to run the London Marathon to raise money for the family’s US treatment, Charlie decided he wanted to help as well. He has always enjoyed swimming, and decided he was going to swim a marathon! It seemed like a great idea at the time; and then they sat down to work out how many of our 20m lengths this would be……….… 2096 was the answer!! Charlie started his swim in January and is aiming to finish his lengths by the date of the London Marathon on 28th April. This equates to around 100 per week.

After a slow start, Charlie has built up his stamina so that he is now swimming between 30-40 lengths at a time. By his Mum’s admission Charlie was slightly out of shape before he started. He had lost his place in his local football team and as a result had stopped doing much exercise until the family joined Club Towers. Charlie told me: “When I started swimming lengths I found I really enjoyed it, and I am feeling fitter and stronger with each week that passes. It is still hard work though!”

If you see Charlie in the pool, usually in the evening between 7-8pm, ploughing up and down doing his favourite breaststroke, please do give him some encouragement! And if you would like to support his sponsored marathon swim, and help Lulu get her treatment in the US, please do visit his Just Giving page at:
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/denise-burgess9

As Charlie said to me: “When I see all the money that has been promised, it motivates me to try even harder. I know then that I have to do it!”.