Eleebana locals jump in and swim for charity

Group of swimmers in the poolSplash For Cash 2012

Eleebana mother and daughter duo, Julia and Grace Charter, are taking up the challenge for charity at the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children’s (RIDBC) annual Hunter Splash for Cash swimathon.

RIDBC’s Hunter Splash for Cash event is being held at the Forum Sports and Aquatic Centre, Newcastle University, on Sunday 25 March, from 9:30am – 2:30pm.

Grace, now eleven, was diagnosed with hearing loss at the age of three.

“Grace’s diagnosis was a shock. She is an only child and I was a stay-at-home mum, and it was only when Grace started at our local preschool that a teacher noticed her trouble hearing,” said Grace’s mother, Julia.

Grace was enrolled in the RIDBC Hunter Preschool when she was four years old so that she could access the support she needed as she learned to listen and speak with the assistance of two hearing aids.

“RIDBC Hunter Preschool was a real blessing to us. It was fantastic to receive so much expert support when as a family we were really struggling to understand Grace’s hearing loss,” said Julia.

“RIDBC Hunter Preschool helped Grace feel confident using her hearing aids, and provided one-on-one support that gave my husband and I the tools we needed to learn how to best support our daughter. RIDBC prepared Grace for her transition to a mainstream school, where she is now thriving, and I am so grateful.”

For Julie and Grace the Splash for Cash is a way to stay connected to RIDBC, and to provide support for the organisation that provided so much support to their family.

“I started swimming the Splash for Cash when Grace was still at the Preschool and now we both swim every year. It’s a fantastic community event and when it comes to helping RIDBC continue to support children in the Hunter living with hearing or vision loss, every little bit really does count!

“This year I’m aiming to swim 60 laps and raise $600 – which is such a pleasure to do. RIDBC gave Grace the knowledge she needed to face the challenge of living with hearing loss and for that I am so grateful.”

The fun-filled Hunter Splash for Cash event is open to all ages and abilities. Participants swim either as individuals or as part of a team, obtaining sponsorship for each lap they swim, or for simply swimming in the event.

Olympic swimmer Justin Norris and 105.3 New FM’s Sarah Levett will also be there on the day, facing off in a swimming race to help raise funds RIDBC Hunter kids. There will also be a family BBQ to enjoy.

You can also grab some friends and ‘Splash Out’ at any location in your own time. To participate in the Splash for Cash swimathon register online at www.splashforcash.com.au. If you don’t want to get wet, you can make a donation at any time. Visit www.ridbc.org.au/donate.

In 2011, $65,000 was raised thanks to the efforts of more than 280 swimmers who swam over 8,600 laps.

RIDBC relies heavily on fundraising and community support to be able to continue to make a difference in the lives of children with hearing or vision loss. In order to maintain its intensive educational and research programs, the organisation needs to raise approximately $2.5 million every month.