Brave Harborough mum is spearheading a tough relay swim across the English Channel this week – just months after her younger sister died of breast cancer
She hopes to raise thousands of pounds for two leading charities, Breast Cancer Care and Orchid Cancer Appeal
A brave Market Harborough mum is set to help spearhead a tough relay swim across the English Channel this week – just months after her younger sister died of breast cancer.
Kirsten Braham, 45, will be tackling the 25-mile challenge to France with her Pink Wave team of captain Andy Foster, Laura Small, Shaun Woodward and Adam Boon.
And she hopes to raise thousands of pounds for two leading charities, Breast Cancer Care and Orchid Cancer Appeal, after her beloved sister Alison, passed away this year aged just 39.
Kirsten told the Harborough Mail: “It’s going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done – but that’s just the way I want it.
“I’m taking on this swim to support two fantastic causes very close to my heart.
“So this is very personal and quite emotional – and we are all determined to do it.”
The brave mum-of-three said her mother Teresa was struck by breast cancer 11 years ago.
“Thank goodness the treatment worked and our mum came through it.
“I had a number of operations myself 10 years ago.
“The surgery was mainly preventative and I went for it because the cancer gene is in our family,” said Kirsten.
“There was no messing around.
“Basically I had everything removed – and I’m all good now.
“But it was a devastating blow when my beautiful younger sister Alison passed away after getting breast cancer earlier this year.
“Alison was just 39, she was married to Steve and had so much to look forward to,” said the extremely fit open water swimming enthusiast.
“It’s still so raw for all of us.
“But I’m sure she’ll be proud if she’s looking down on me now.
“And I feel sure that Alison will be with me every stroke of the way across the Channel.
“Andy, Shaun, Laura and Adam are all keen wild water swimmers like me, we regularly swim in the River Nene.
“Andy will go into the sea first in our epic relay and we’ll rotate every hour.
“The water temperature should be about 14-16C (57-60F) and it’s going to be a real challenge with the currents and winds.
“We think we’ll have to clock up about 25 miles – and it should take us 15-20 hours all being well,” added Kirsten, a teaching assistant at St Joseph’s primary school on Coventry Road, Market Harborough, where she also teaches pupils to swim.
“We’ll all be wearing a swimsuit, hat and goggles.
“Our tide window opens on Monday August 16 – so it’s starting to feel very real right now!”
The team will set out on appropriately-named Channel boat Optimist with Pilot Paul Foreman and his crew.
They will be accompanied by an official observer guiding them through some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and keeping them safe.
“We could be called to Dover at any time from this Sunday onwards.
“The swim could start either during the day or night depending on the tide and weather.
“So we’ll probably be swimming in the dark as well which will be a bit weird,” said Kirsten, who’s already raked in almost £1,600.
“But there’s a two to three year waiting list for people to swim the Channel.
“So it’s just brilliant that we’re getting the chance to do this extraordinary thing.
“We’re all feeling very strong and very positive and we are all determined to do Alison proud as we do our best to support two absolutely top-class cancer charities.”
If you would like to make a splash and back this excellent campaign you can donate on their fundraising page here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=PnkWaveChannelRelayTeam&isTeam=trueYou can also take part in a fun competition to guess how long it will take Kirsten and the team to swim the Channel.
The winner with the nearest time will receive an exclusive new 'Pink Wave' Team hoodie, one of only six made.
The two runners-up will each receive a limited edition six colour print Team swim hat.
To be in with a shout, send your name and time to Laura at [email protected]