A woman who was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer is to defy her illness when she swims the English Channel for charity later this year.
Jody Jones is a member of the Northwood-based North London Military Wives Choir and will be making the swim for Blesma – The Limbless Veterans charity in August.
Jody’s husband Rich served as an officer in the British Army for 17 years. Jody said she chose to raise money for Blesma as a friend of the family, who is coming to terms with being an amputee, has been supported by the charity for a couple of years, as have other friends they have made over the years.
She commented: “They do an incredible job of supporting veterans who have lost a limb, multiple limbs or eye as well as the use of a limb or eye.”
Since she began open water swimming in 2011, Jody has toyed with the idea of a Channel solo swim. After taking part in a Channel relay, Jody concentrated on building up her distance and time in the water, logging over 650km of swimming in 2017 including sea swims and open water races.
Ready to take on the challenge, Jody’s diagnosis brought her training to a halt. Her treatment began swiftly with major emergency surgery and including 12 cycles of chemotherapy and further surgery in the autumn.
She said: “I’ve since had further major surgery as well as various minor operations. From the very beginning, all my surgeons and my oncologist have been extremely positive about my prognosis.
“Everything I’ve achieved over the past 18 months has been with the encouragement of my oncologist.
“My dream to swim the Channel and the level of endurance that I reached before my diagnosis has meant that I have been able to recover very quickly from surgery and chemotherapy so I have been able to continue training throughout.”
Jody said her husband has been a huge support.
She added: “That support had only grown stronger since my diagnosis. He, of all people, understands what my swim means to me and has witnessed first-hand, what I’ve been through to get to this point.
“He will be one of my team of four support crew in my Channel pilot boat that will accompany me during my swim this August.
“My friends often use the word ‘amazing’ when they talk to me about my swimming. I’m really not amazing – I’m literally following my dream.”
Jody’s hoping to raise £3,000 for the charity. To donate, go to justgiving.com/JodysChannelSwim2019