River wanted to challenge himself and make a difference so he set out to swim 2km to raise money for the Starlight Foundation.
Joined by his carer Damon at the Sleeman Sports Complex on Thursday, River finished the 2km swim in 2hours and 10 minutes, coming in under his estimated swim time of 2.5 hours.
A healthy crowd of supporters cheered River on with some even jumping in the pool to swim support laps including the lifeguards and Tokyo and Rio Paralympic Gold Medalist, Rachael Watson, OAM.
Speaking to 96five’s Jess Drummond, River said he was feeling good after the swim but Damon isn’t convinced.
“I think he’s a little tired to be honest, I know I’m exhausted” Damon said.
Whether it’s a tough swim or the tough moments of life, River relies on his faith and the support of his friends and family to get him through.
“Whenever I feel sad, my Mum prays for me and then God comes in” River said.
96five’s Ken and Nicky caught up with River and Damon prior to the swim and they learnt that River has been training 2-3 times a week for the last 3 years.
“I used to take River swimming and he’d do about 5 or 10 laps and he does this all with one arm so he should never be underestimated,” Damon said.
“He never ever wants to give up. If I say to him ‘you want to take a rest?’ he just says ‘no, I want to keep going’. We take our advice from Finding Nemo where Dory says ‘just keep swimming”.
When asked how he motivates himself on days where he doesn’t want to train, his response was a simple and powerful.
“Dig in” River said.
People are digging in and digging deep leaving messages of support on the 96five Facebook page as well as donating to River’s fundraiser.
The world needs more people like River! Thanks for being an inspiration to others mate – Rob
Well done River!!! What an inspiration you (and your carer) are. keep doing what your doing. God Bless. Lisa
That was the best listening to River I know I need to DIG IN – Summer
River set out to raise $500 for the Starlight Foundation and is so thankful to have raised 7x times as much and counting!
“A big shout out and thank you to every single person who donated to the cause today. We are on such a high because of what’s happened” Damon said.
“We’ve decided that we should make this an annual event. It keeps us motivated, it keeps us exercising in the pool so we think that every year we should do a charity swim.”
To support River and donate to the Starlight Foundation, visit the Starlight Foundation website.
Listen to the interview’s with Jess as well as Ken and Nicky in the players above.