A highly rated swimmer from Bury has assembled an all-star cast to break a world record — and raise money for a charity which has helped his mother fight leukaemia.
Lewis Coleman, aged 21, competes in the Great Britain swimming team, and will bring together more than 100 of the country’s top swimmers to raise money for blood cancer charity Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
His mother Mags was diagnosed with the condition in June, 2012, and has since undergone chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant and has also taken part in clinical drug trials.
As a thank you for funding the drug trial, Lewis decided to hold a fundraising event for the charity.
Lewis, a former pupil at Greenmount Primary School, has assembled 100 swimmers who will swim 100 metres each in a relay which will be held at Ponds Forge Sports Centre in Sheffield on February 1.
The world record for a 100x100m stands at one hour, 37 minutes, 53 seconds, but with the high quality line-up Lewis has assembled through his contacts in the swimming world, the record could be smashed. Lewis, who is now based in Sheffield, has called on the support of former Olympians Karen Pickering, Steve Parry and Mark Foster, as well as current athletes Hannah Miley and James Goddard.
The effort will also feature his 10-year-old brother Oliver, a pupil at Greenmount Primary, who will complete a leg of the relay. The rest of the line-up will be completed by national standard swimmers from around the country.
Lewis said: “My world was rocked when Mum was diagnosed. Without the clinical trial there is a possibility that she wouldn’t be with us today, so I decided I wanted to raise money for blood cancer.
“I want to do my bit so that more people can have access to new drugs or clinical trials to help them beat this disease.
“Swimming has always been a massive part of my family’s life so I thought it would be fitting if the fundraising event was related to swimming.”
Lewis’ father Joe, who now lives in Tottington with Mags, after serving around the world in the Army, said: “We are immensely proud of him. He has got so much drive and motivation, he is an inspiration.
“He decided that he wanted to do something interesting that would attract attention as well as raise money, as the charity gave Mags a second chance at life.”
Lewis is currently in the Great Britain ‘podium potential’ squad, which identifies talented athletes who are thought to have a chance of winning medals.
He is hoping to qualify for the Common-wealth Games in Glasgow this summer, and also has his sights set on the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.
Mags, aged 48, is waiting on test results to see whether treatment has been successful, or she could have to find a new bone marrow donor and start the whole process again. Joe, aged 54, added: “She is still quite poorly, but I would say she has picked up a little bit in the last few weeks. We hope we will able to bring good news in February.”
To donate: visit justgiving.com/LewisColeman or text MAGS99 + £amount to 70070 For more information: visit swim4leukaemia.com