Determined to help others access the same life-changing support as she did going through cancer, 36-year-old Elena Foster from Bishop Monkton has conquered the challenge of swimming the length of the Channel at Ripon Spa Baths.
Raising vital funds and awareness for The Willow Foundation, a charity dedicated to providing special memory-making days for seriously ill people between 16 and 40 - Elena, who is a teacher at Burton Leonard Primary School and the area three chair for the Ladies Circle, has smashed her target of swimming the length in a month.
After completing the challenge in an impressive 15 days and swimming well over 2000 lengths of the Spa Baths, Elena is now ‘swimming back’, and increasing her distance even more. Elena will finish swimming every day on August 19, three years since she found a lump and started her battle with breast cancer.
Supported by her children throughout the fundraising, who have been proudly swimming alongside her, Elena is passionate about saying thank you and giving back to the charity which has helped her family so much.
She said: “I went through the whole treatment after I was diagnosed with cancer three years ago - radiotherapy, surgery, all of it. I found out about the Foundation and they sent me and my family to Center Parcs for the weekend at the end of all my treatment.
“Talking to my children afterwards, my daughter said it was when mummy got better. That comment meant so much, it ruled a line under the treatment. Being able to go away as a family, it brought us all back together after going through something so difficult.
“When you’ve been through cancer, what a lot of people might not realise is the mental side of it afterwards. The dates are fixed in your mind, you really remember the dates of everything happening.”
August 19 will now have a new meaning for Elena - as the day that she completed something extraordinary for a good cause.
There is a collection tin at Ripon Spa Baths , and Elena has a JustGiving page: justgiving.com/fundraising/area3channelswim