Zachariah Morris from Littleborough in Greater Manchester turned nine in November and he decided to mark his birthday in an amazing way.
He committed himself to swim a mammoth 325 lengths – that’s five miles – over the course of the month for our Swim the Distance challenge, raising money for our charity.
Initially, he aimed to raise £50, but he absolutely smashed that, raising over £750 and counting!
His mother, Tomasina, decided that Zachariah and his two younger brothers would learn to swim after the family witnessed a man drown.
“We were on holiday when this accident happened, and the poor man died. Fortunately, the children were probably too young at the time – Zachariah was 4 and his twin brothers just 2 and a half – to realise exactly what was going on.
I was absolutely determined from that point that they would all become good swimmers, so they could help themselves and others if the need should arise.
“Zachariah began having swimming lesson every week, and he’s worked hard at it. He’s a pretty good swimmer now!
“We want the children to understand that there are people less fortunate than them, and to learn the value of doing good for others. He was keen to try the Swim The Distance challenge – lung disease runs in our family and we have lost several relatives to cancer and emphysema – so he looked at the various options.
“He decided to swim five miles, a longer distance than I thought he might – but we’ve all told him ‘You can do it!’ and I think he will.” **Updated – Zachariah swam 702 lengths in the challenge, which is just over 10 miles!**
Zachariah now swims four times a week and has signed to his local swimming club. He has gone on to win several badges and certificates, including being awarded a trophy by his headteacher for showing great potential as a swimmer.
Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, congratulated Zachariah on his wonderful fundraising effort:
“Zachariah is setting us all a great example. We should all Follow his Lead!
“Swimming is terrific exercise; it’s great for your lungs, your heart and your overall fitness. To raise so much money at such a young age is a fantastic achievement and we thank him on behalf of all the people we support. And of course, we all wish him a very Happy Birthday!”
About Swim the Distance
Zachariah is one of many people taking on our Swim the Distance challenge this November to raise money for people living with lung cancer. Swimmers can choose to swim between 1 and 100 miles over the course of November, individually or as part of a team.
It is not too late to sign up and dive in to this year’s challenge. Simply visit roycastle.org/swim for more information. Alternatively, you can support Zachariah Morris in his Swim The Distance Challenge through his JustGiving page.