Growing up in West Kelowna, Jane (Kneller) Richardson crossed Okanagan Lake many times.
This summer she will cross the lake again, but for the first time in her life, she’ll do it without the assistance of a car or boat.
“I’ve swam in the lake, but I’ve never swam across it before. The idea intrigues me,” said Richardson.
Richardson was diagnosed with breast cancer in March, 2012.
After going through a couple of surgeries and chemotherapy, she began swimming. She’d always enjoyed her time in the pool and knew it would be a good way to recuperate.
At first she could only do eight lengths of the pool, now she can do 80.
“It was a slow start. I could only go swimming about once a week and I was only walking about two kilometres per day.
“I’m up to walking six or seven kilometres about three times a week and 80 lengths in the pool once or twice a week.”
A fitness trainer friend of Richardson’s challenged her to consider entering the Interior Savings Across the Lake Swim July 20 after hearing about her progress.
“I thought: That sounds like a pretty good idea.”
She will take part in the swim as a fundraiser for the McMurtry-Baerg Cancer Centre, a privately run facility that is housed in the Vernon Jubilee Hospital. She will also raise money for the Loralei Comfort Fund, which provides assistance to cancer patients whose financial barriers create hardship in terms of dealing with diagnosis and treatment.
“This is my way of getting better and giving back.”
Richardson, who currently lives in Armstrong, said she has plenty of family members who will be wearing pink to support her when she swims in the lake this summer. She’s also working on acquiring a flaming pink swim suit to help her stand out in the water.
“I have been in to see my family physician to make sure that I am physically healthy enough to do the swim—that, of course, was a concern for (organizers).
“I don’t foresee any problems at this point.”
Richardson said raising money is just one of the reasons she’s taking on the challenge.
“I want to be able to show other breast cancer patients and survivors that, with some determination, work and good family and friends support, it’s amazing what you can regain.”
To learn more about Richardson’s swim, visit janeacrrossthelakeswim.wordpress.com. She also has a Facebook group: Jane Across the Lake Swim.