When Kaylynn Purdy was 16 she biked across B.C. to raise money to support adolescent and young adult cancer patient programs.
Now 21, Purdy is about to embark on another fitness expedition.
On July 19 Purdy and Caryn Dooner will be swimming 35 km across the Strait of Georgia to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society.
“(It’s) definitely a little bit out of our elements,” Purdy said.
“We’re both not really swimmers. I’m a cyclist; she’s a rower and runner. It’s kind of a unique challenge for both of us.
Naming the swim, ‘Waves 4 Women’ Purdy said her main goal is to raise awareness for forms of cancer that affect women.
“We are swimming to raise awareness about the challenges that women face when diagnosed with cervical, breast, uterine and vulvar cancer,” Dooner and Purdy wrote on their blog.
“There’s so many other kinds of cancer that kind of get ignored,” Purdy added.
“We’re both women and it could affect us…it’s really close to home.”
In 2012 Dooner’s mother was diagnosed with cancer.
Dooner said she was lucky that her mother required minimal intervention.
But she now recognizes the importance of research funding, she said.
As science students, Purdy said it has always been important for them to support the CCS’s research and awareness programs.
“By funding research into diagnostic technology and disease prevention, it could reduce the effect that this disease has on the lives of others and even directly on our future,” Dooner said.
Donner is also very adamant about raising funds for recovery and support programs for both cancer patients and their families.
“From personal experience I can tell you that a helping hand is really appreciated.”
So far these young women have raised $3,000.
But Purdy said their ultimate goal is to raise $7,000 for the CCS.
And with the swim only a few days away, Purdy said the nerves are kicking in.
“We’re excited, we’re also a bit nervous,” she said.
“It’s pretty cold…that’s definitely a factor that could be really challenging—hypothermia weather.”
The young women have been training with an open water swim coach since January. In the last few weeks, they’ve been spending between five and six hour training in the water.
“He (coach Alistair Dennis) has been there for us every step of the way, and we are both feeling ready for the swim, no doubt thanks to him,” Purdy said.
To read more about Purdy and Donner’s journey visit their blog at http://waves4women. blogspot.ca