Dr Sharon Kane has swam a mile fully clothed to understand the plight of asylum seekers forced to swim stretches of the Mediterranean sea to escape war torn Syria.
The 48-year-old GP from Churchdown took to the water in leggings and a T-shirt for GL1’s annual Christmas swim to raise money for refugees and awareness of their struggles.
The swim, called the Christmas Mile, sees people swim 66 lengths – the equivalent of one mile – to meet personal targets or to raise money for charity.
Sharon chose Medical Justice, a charity she volunteers for which offers medical help to those held in immigration detention in the UK.
She said: “I’ve got a number of asylum seekers on my own patient list and over the last couple of years I became interested in their own needs. That’s where my passion is – it was obvious to me that I would do it for a refugee charity. I thought about people crossing the Mediterranean and they’re not in a wetsuit. I thought it could help me to identify in a small way what they go through.”
The refugee crisis began in 2015, when more and more people began arriving in the EU, travelling across the Mediterranean Sea by boat to escape the wars at home. The number of deaths at sea rose to record levels in April 2015, when five boats carrying almost 2,000 migrants to Europe sank.
Sharon, who completed the swim in around 50 minutes, said it was hard work in clothing. “If I did breast stroke it was okay, but front crawl was much harder because you have to get your arms out of the water. But I want to thank the GL1 management for allowing me to swim in clothes and for their own interest in it too,” she said. So far, Sharon has raised an impressive £285.
You can donate to Sharon’s cause by visiting www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ Sharon-Kane7