Aidan Sheridan swam approximately 254 kms - the length of the Shannon - and raised a whopping €50,000 for charity – supported from locals and friends this summer.
Raising funds for the Irish Cancer Society and East Galway and Midlands Cancer Support was an obvious choice after his brother Mark passed away from cancer in 2017.
He began training last November, as he wasn’t a particularly strong swimmer, he had to build his training up gradually going to his local pool 6-8 am to practice. He only started his open water swimming in April of this year!
He swam 220,000 strokes, 95,000 breaths of air and 10,000 laps of a swimming pool. He had some shoulder trouble on the second day of the swim but other than that it couldn’t have really gone better .
“It was an amazing evening when they handed over the cheque for €41,000 to East Galway and Midlands Cancer Support Centre. The same night I was told there was going to be a plaque for one of the benches in the garden centre for Mark that was already made out. That made the evening more special for us as a family as we know they can go up and sit on the bench and have a chat with Mark”, states Aidan.
“It was a very proud moment to say we raised enough money to purchase a bus for them, allowing patients who need help with travel to go to Galway and other adjoining hospitals for treatment “, he explained.
They received amazing support from the public. In the lead up to the swim, they had lots of fundraisers, with some people coming to all the events and donating three or four times. He was overwhelmed by the support he received from everyone in the town, as if it wasn’t for residents and businesses, they wouldn’t have got anywhere near the figure they received.
He thanked his wife, Elaine and two kids Summer and Alex. A special mention must go to Ruth and Julien for driving the campervan for him for the two weeks. He also thanked his sponsors Mike Dolan at the Moycarn Lodge, CarryOut Office License, Tiny Tots, Supermac’s, Kids Corner, Credit Union, The Study Centre, Joe Naughton Auctioneers, Signs and Systems, Fred Kilmartin and Hogarty’s Carpet and Flooring. Their sponsorship provided the campervan and food , happily a lot of these businesses came forward asking to sponsor him rather than him having to go looking for it.
He concludes by saying “People around town were knocking on our door looking to give us stuff, which shows how the people of Ballinasloe pull together.”
This wasn’t a solo effort from Aidan as he was supported by members of the local civil defence force primarily because he is known for his feats of fitness, in 2016 for example he completed 52 Marathons in 52 weeks.
Critically one of the main charities which he was raising money for locally has also been supported by the Civil Defence in the past at various events and would have close ties with them. They also have members who are trained in operating Rescue Boats near swimmers and who have good knowledge of the local waterways, so it made sense for them to help.
They took over the role of support/rescue boat for him from Roscommon Civil Defence early on the morning of July 22nd at the Athlone weir after launching from Coreen Ford.
Over the course of the three days, they had seven of their members take turns crewing the rescue boat. These varied in clinical levels from first aid responder, through emergency medical technician up to paramedic. They also carried food and drinks for him and made sure he received his breaks on time. They handed over the relief duties at Banagher to the Meelick/Eyrecourt kayakers.
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