A man from St Albans teamed up with his friend to smash a world record, rowing in tandem for 48 hours to raise awareness of autism.
Between April 1 and April 3, Isaac Kenyon, from the city, and Jordan Williams from Luton, rowed on an indoor rowing machine at Anytime Fitness in Welwyn Garden City to beat the previous record of 36 hours.
This massive feat was in aid of the National Autistic Society as part of World Autism Acceptance Week to raise funds and increase public understanding.
Jordan, whose nephew has severe autism, said he hopes the challenge will get people talking about autism.
He said: “I have a family member, a nephew with severe autism from birth, it’s very very difficult for my sister and her family in certain aspects. This row has definitely made me step up.
“My sister doesn’t get a lot of support from services, so she’s actually taken herself back to university and created a company for family members to get help. Far too many autistic people and their families don’t get the understanding or support they need and end up feeling isolated.
“Everyone that goes out it’s 100 per cent effort from everyone to keep an eye on him. We wouldn’t change it for the world, this is how he is, and this makes him how he is. It’s really, really beautiful to see.
“He’s really, really intelligent and that’s what I’d like anyway to learn from this – people with autism, they are extremely intelligent people and they shouldn’t be seen as anything but. This is why World Autism Acceptance Week is so important.”
Isaac added: “Rowing non-stop for 2 days was both mentally and physically challenging and it took all of our effort to complete, fortunately we have been supported by EXR and Hire Fitness UK with top of the range equipment to help us as well as friends, family and supporters to spur us on, without the community we couldn’t have achieved this.
“On top of rowing for 48 hours we are participated in the Christine McGuinness’s Super 60 Challenge – and rowed just over 600,000 meters. However, this is nowhere near the challenge my autistic family member is facing right now, with so much disruption from the unexpected pandemic it has triggered intense anxiety with a lot of support from public services disappearing overnight which has been very high pressure for our family.”
The pair have raised more than £1,000 for the charity via their GoFundMe page.
Photo credit: Daniel Williams