Health battles spur on duo to take the plunge

Gary Shaw of Gill Court, Harrowside, South Shore is doing the Great North Swim in aid of Macmillan.
Gary Shaw of Gill Court, Harrowside, South Shore is doing the Great North Swim in aid of Macmillan.
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Two men certainly know a thing or two about
defeating the odds.

And Joe Wane and Gary Shaw are both getting ready to take the plunge for charity.

The pair will be taking part in the Great North Swim in a bid to help others, despite both having their own health battles.

Joe Wane, from Marton, used to swim for Blackpool as a teenager, but was forced to stop swimming after finding out he had scoliosis – curvature of the spine. He had to undergo two operations, which involved metal rods being inserted either side of his spine.

He couldn’t swim for an entire year and that had to learn to swim again.

So Joe is now doing the Great North Swim to raise money for the British Scoliosis Research Foundation.

The 20-year-old, a student at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “There are six of us doing the swim altogether, we see it as a challenge. For me, it is a personal challenge, I was swimming for Blackpool four times a week, to then having an operation on my back, and didn’t swim for a year.

“I basically had to figure out how to swim again, which I found frustrating as I’ve always been a swimmer when I was younger. Doing the swim has meant me having to train again and prove to myself I could do it. I chose this charity not only because of the health condition which I suffer from, but also because it is the only charity which exists solely to promote research for the treatment of scoliosis.”

Also taking part in the Great North Swim and the Great Manchester Swim too, will be Gary Shaw, a grandad from South Shore, who has been battling cancer over the last year. The 54-year-old housing scheme manager was diagnosed last February and after four operations has got the all-clear. Gary, who has three grandchildren, said: “I am raising money for Macmillan. I took up swimming after I was diagnosed with cancer to try and get myself as fit as possible for the ordeal which lay ahead.

“During that time I had plenty of time to think, not of myself, but those people around me – my partner son and daughter and grandchildren. I hope what I am about to do will make a difference for those less fortunate. Knowing there is support out there and people like the Macmillan nurses spurs me on and means a great deal to me. I want to raise as much money as possible.”

To sponsor Gary email or to sponsor Joe email