Sir John Royden is aiming to continuously swim the length of Lake Geneva at 42.8 miles in 36 hours for The Brain Tumour Charity
Sir John Royden Bt (pictured) is Head of Research at investment and wealth management company, JM Finn, and can be found most evenings swimming in his local pool and open water swimming at various locations during his weekends.
Tragically, John lost his sister, Emma, to a brain tumour in 2003 when she was just 32 years of age.
Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40, and it is estimated that at least 88,000 people are living with a brain tumour in the UK today.
Inspired to support and raise vital research funds for The Brain Tumour Charity John is undertaking an epic challenge in the last week of July; aiming to continuously swim the whole 42.8 mile length of Lake Geneva in 36 hours.
John and his support team are making their way to Geneva next week and, so far, he has raised an incredible £282,000.
Only seven people have ever completed what is known as the ultimate ‘trophy swim’ and John will be just the eighth person to do so. More people have actually walked on the moon (12) than have solo swam Lake Geneva.
The quickest crossing completed was 22 hours and 43 minutes by Swiss man Alain Charmey in 1986 who was also the first person to do it. Only two other British people have completed the swim; Mark Sheridan and Dr Nick Murch, both in 2016.
The Lake Geneva Swimming Association rules state no wetsuit can be worn for the swim, no stopping and no rest until John reaches the finishing shoreline.
This will not be the first time that John has taken on endurance escapades. In 1993 he successfully swam the English Channel on his third attempt and in 2007 John climbed to Everest Base Camp just a year after he had had significant knee surgery.
To qualify to swim Lake Geneva, John had to complete a 10 hour continuous swim one day followed by a seven hour continuous swim the next day which John completed on his second attempt last month.
Friends and family have been joining in with ‘solidarity events’ in support of John’s swim with his Step-Granddaughter, Isla completing 42 star jumps and raising a whopping £1,500 and friend Allan, organising a 10km sponsored walk and also raising over £1,000 all for The Brain Tumour Charity.
Looking to the Lake Geneva swim, aged 56, John will be the oldest to complete the swim by 14 years. Sensory deprivation, constant pain and exhaustion are all aspects that John has been conditioning his brain as well as his body for.
John comments: “I am determined to finish the swim in memory of my sister. There was very limited treatment available to her when she was diagnosed and quite frankly little has changed in 17 years. She did have a brain operation but that just added three rather poor-quality months to her life”.
John is also inspired by the loss of a friend and colleague, Geordie Kidston and is motivated to get fitter, do something worthwhile and make a difference.
“Life is certainly for living and if I can make a difference during my lifetime, I’ll be very happy. Research into brain tumours is expensive and I know every penny of the money raised will make a difference, helping to find a cure and kinder treatments for the disease. Things just have to change for this woefully underfunded cancer.
“I’m pleased to be supporting such a brilliant charity who are making real impact every day. I’ve had such humbling, kind and generous support for my swim so far which means a great deal to me in memory of Emma and really warms my heart.
“I just hope that emotional warmth transfers to its physical equivalent when I’m in the water and need a boost”.
David Jenkinson, Interim CEO at The Brain Tumour Charity, comments:
“We are especially proud and grateful to have John’s support to help fund our pioneering, world-class research and carry on all our work to accelerate a cure for this devastating disease.
“We are unashamedly ambitious in our goals to double survival and halve the harm that brain tumours have on quality of life, and John’s incredible fundraising feat will be invaluable in helping us to achieve these by reaching a wider audience and raising vital awareness.”