Milton of Campsie minister who beat cancer twice is taking on huge swim charity challenge

A minister and mum-of-two is urging everyone to help two cancer charities by making a splash.
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Rev. Julie Moody has beaten cancer twice and is determined to do all she can to support the worthy causes by taking part in this year’s Swimathon.

The 51-year-old Milton of Campsie Parish Church minister aims to swim 500 lengths of Kirkintilloch Leisure Centre in coming weeks in aid of Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie.

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Joining her for the charity challenge will be her children, Josiah, 11, and Esher, aged nine.

The Rev. Julie Moody with children Josiah and Esther who will also take part in the Swimathon. Pic: ContributedThe Rev. Julie Moody with children Josiah and Esther who will also take part in the Swimathon. Pic: Contributed
The Rev. Julie Moody with children Josiah and Esther who will also take part in the Swimathon. Pic: Contributed

With the countdown to the Paris Olympics well underway, she is issuing a rallying cry for Scotland’s pool-lovers to "go for gold” in their own way by raising vital funds for the two much-loved causes.

It was a terrible shock when Julie discovered a lump while breastfeeding and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 . Her youngest child was only five months old at the time.

Two years later after undergoing gruelling treatment and a reconstruction, Julie found another lump in her breast.

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She had more surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hospitals stays and time away from her young family.

During this time, her family and her local church were very supportive. Now Julie hopes that sharing her story will encourage people in Scotland to get off the starting blocks and help support the charities close to her heart.

Julie always loved sports, enjoying mountain biking and running. When her children both began to swim with the local swim club four times a week Julie got into swimming through taking and watching them.

She said: “Once I took it up, I found swimming to be very liberating. When I saw the Swimathon on Facebook, I thought – what a great activity to do as a family. I’ve done sport fundraisers before, I have run the London marathon twice, but the Swimathon is unique because it’s not just for adults. It is a beautiful thing that my children can participate in raising money for something that affects so many people, including some of my friends.

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“I’m so grateful for the treatment that saved my life and to all the medical staff who helped me recover. My experience means I understand all too clearly why events such as Swimathon are so crucial to help fund the work of charities like Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie, which rely on our support.”

Julie is keen to emphasise you don’t need to be the next Adam Peaty to take part. With a variety of distances available - from 400m up to 30.9k - the event offers a challenge for swimmers young and old, new and experienced.

People can participate individually or as part of a team. And any swimmers who can’t make one of the organised sessions can sign up to MySwimathon, which takes place from April 19 - May 5, and choose a time and venue that suits them.

Julie added: “Together with my children we are going to make a team effort to reach 500 lengths. The most I have swam is about 130 lengths and my children do 100 lengths each. It will be a great challenge for us to dig a little deeper to go the extra distance.

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"The great thing about the challenge is that it is so inclusive and welcomes different abilities. We have the time to take a break, eat a quick snack, before getting back into the water to reach our goal.”

Not only does the event support important causes, £2.50 from the entry fee of everybody taking part at an official Swimathon venue is donated to help protect these pools for the future.

Since it began in 1986, the event has raised more than £55m for charity.

Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Scotland, said: “From pioneering some of the first chemotherapies, to the development of advanced, targeted treatments and immunotherapy, our research has played a role in around half of the world’s essential cancer drugs. With nearly one in two people set to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, it’s thanks to the generosity and commitment of supporters like Julie that we are able to fund the vital treatments of tomorrow.

"That’s why we’re urging swimmers to dive in, raise money and help us to keep making new discoveries and breakthroughs. Together, we are beating cancer.”

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