AT 8am on May 1st, 20-year-old Nathan Holding will walk into the sea at Inchydoney and begin a 50-day journey around the coast of Ireland in aid of cancer research.
The adventurous young man who hails from Kilruane, between Rosscarbery and Clonakilty, will be prone paddling – which requires him to lie flat on his board and paddle with his arms – each and every kilometre along the 1,650kms route.
Nathan estimated he will need to cover an average 36km a day and spend at least seven hours a day in the water if he is to meet his target.
Although Nathan has never attempted anything like this before he wanted to do something to support the Irish Cancer Society because members of his family and friends have been affected by the disease.
‘Almost everyone knows somebody affected by cancer,’ said Nathan, ‘but this is for my best friend’s mother, Alice Crowley, who passed away last July.’ Alice was also his swim coach.
Nathan, a former pupil of Bandon Grammar School, is a beach lifeguard and a competitive swimmer. He has also represented Ireland in both the European and World Lifesaving Championships, so is very much at home in the sea.
Nevertheless, there will be a safety boat, manned by volunteers, accompanying him for the duration of the challenge. This has been kindly donated by Justin Crowley, husband of the late Alice Crowley.
The principal skipper will be Jamie O’Mahony from Kilkee, Co Clare, an active member of his local search and rescue team, and has kindly put himself forward to man the safety boat for most of this journey. At the start of the winter, Nathan began preparing himself by doing three 20km paddles per week, and gradually increasing the distance so now 36km a day is an achievable target.
A GoFundMe page for donations has been set up – check out www.paddleireland4cancer.com. or contact Nathan on 087 1737369 or by emailing him at: [email protected]
A portion of the money raised will help purchase equipment needed for this expedition, but it will be sold afterwards and the proceeds will go directly to the Irish Cancer Society.