This month, Specialist Lung Cancer Nurse, Kate Bentley, is taking to the water in a seaside and indoor pool challenge, completing 450 lengths as part of our Swimming the Distance challenge.
“I’ve been a Lung Cancer Nurse Specialist at Portsmouth Hospital for nearly five years now and every year, we diagnose around 450 people with lung cancer.
I was immediately drawn to the Swimming the Distance challenge because it was so flexible. Designing the challenge around me was perfect, it meant I could do the challenge however and whenever I want whilst choosing a distance that meant something to me.
This August I will be swimming 450 lengths to recognise the number of individuals in my area who are diagnosed with primary lung cancer every year. By swimming a length for every person, I hope that this will help to raise the profile of lung cancer and try to gain more support for the disease.”
Taking to the water
“During lockdown I really got into swimming in the sea near where I live in Portsmouth. I find swimming a great way to maintain my mobility due to my chronic nerve leg damage – I use crutches every day to get around.
I really enjoy swimming, it’s peaceful and give me some space mentally whilst enabling me to exercise. I’ve recently been introduced to the benefits of cold-water swimming, so on top of pool swims I’m having some dips in the sea and taking my kids with me through the summer holidays.
I’m a bit of a mermaid and I love the fact that swimming means I can challenge myself physically – something which I am not so good at doing whilst on dry land!
So far, I’m doing well with my challenge which kickstarted on the 1st of August. I am a little worried about being able to finish as some days my back legs feel more like floating that swimming, but I’m making the most out of the opportunity.
The support I have received has been amazing, I’ve already reached over 50% of my fundraising goal of £450 that I am hoping to raise, which is pretty incredible!”
Every pound matters
I am aiming to raise a pound for every length that I swim which will go directly to Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. This charity provides our clinic support that enables us to run our monthly support group. We also use the leaflets and booklets to help patients get a better understanding of their diagnosis and treatment.
“As a Lung Cancer Nurse Specialist, I see the how beneficial Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is to our patients and to increasing awareness of lung cancer.
I love my job as we meet such a varied mix of people at different stages of the disease, and we are very fortunate to be able to spend more time with the patients and their families than when working clinically on the wards.
Of course, with the Covid pandemic our way of work has changed, and it has made us more aware of how difficult it is for our patients and their families, especially the added anxieties that Covid has brought for people affected by lung cancer.
I feel by swimming a length for every patient diagnosed and raising funds for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, I am doing a little extra to make a difference.”