Renowned athlete and Olympic Medalist Terence Parkin is taking on an incredible test of stamina and strength in an effort to raise money for the Deaf Children’s Learn to Swim and Water Safety Programme. Parkin plans to cycle, swim and canoe a mammoth 902km between Johannesburg and Durban in order to generate funds for young South Africans with disabilities.
Parkin himself was born deaf and overcame his personal challenges to become the most celebrated Deaflympic athlete in the world and a silver medal winner in the 2000 Summer Olympics. His natural talents as a swimmer and his passionate advocacy for young deaf athletes led to the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation recently naming him as one of their Ambassadors. He travels across the world giving talks on issues around water safety, preventing drowning fatalities and coaching children on how to swim.
He now plans to undertake the 902km challenge in order to raise funds so that deaf South African youth can have the opportunity to benefit from learning to swim. This, as Parkin can personally attest to, has a number of benefits on physical health, emotional well-being and self esteem.
“I want to help children in SA to reach their full potential and grow into healthy adults,” Park in says of his cause. “Swimming has been an incredible positive influence in my life and I want children with hearing difficulties and other challenges to experience something similar. Who knows, there may be more Olympic medalists out there in SA that we can reach through this initiative!”
Parkin intends to do a 5 day, 723km mountain bike cycle tour from Johannesburg to Midmar, where he will do a 13km swim. He will then do a 33km run and end off with a 124km, 3 day Dusi canoe marathon. It’s an enormous challenge to his ability as an athlete but he feels up for the test, in the name of a worthy cause. At this point, he is looking for sponsorship to help raise funds for his cause. Anyone who is interested in donating or becoming involved can contact Jenny Wentzel on jenny@PCMFSA.co.za or +27 (82) 9903578.
Her Serene Highness, Princess Charlene of Monaco, endorses Terence’s initiative and is proud of his energy and commitment to the cause of water safety and drowning prevention, which is a key focus of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation. Fellow Olympian, swimmer and CEO of the PCMFSA, Ryk Neethling, says that the Foundation is behind Parkin 100% and encourages other South Africans to lend their support to this worthy cause. “Terence was known as one of the toughest athletes in world swimming which is still evident in this attempt, we can all be inspired by him,” Neethling says. “He is paving the way for youngsters across our country to live their dreams – no matter what the odds.”