Splash for cash
|Matilda, Elizabeth and Emma Dening with Susie O'Neill|
It was swimming goggles at 10 paces when Swimart Ambassador Susie O'Neill hit the pool, first in Newcastle and then on the NSW Central Coast in the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children's (RIDBC) Splash for Cash fund raising event.
The events were sponsored by Swimart stores at Warners Bay, New Lampton, Charmaven and Green Point, and took place on Sunday 26 June. Forty seven swimmers took to the water of the Olympic-sized pool at the Forum Sports and Aquatic Centre in Newcastle, while 60 swimmers joined Susie in the pool at the Mingara One Fitness and Aquatics Centre on the Central Coast.
The annual Splash for Cash is a vital fund raiser for the RIDBC. The money raised goes to RIDBC's Australia-wide services, which provides support for hearing and/or vision impaired children and their families. In the Hunter region, the RIDBC Hunter Centre supports 41 children who have hearing or vision impairment, whilst 21 children in the Central Coast area receive regular support from the Institute.
Newcastle resident Antonio Montero swam 50 laps of the pool. His son, Callum, is vision impaired and attends RIDBC Hunter Preschool. "The swim was hard, but it was a great atmosphere down by the pool," Antonio says. "It was fantastic to have Susie O'Neill hitting the water too. I was in good company.
Andrew Morton from Swimart
Charmhaven, Susie O’Neill, Chris Rehn – RIDBC
chief executive – and Glenn Eastwood from
Swimart Green Point
"RIDBC has done so much for Callum that I feel like this fundraising swim was just one way I could give back. It's just a small gesture of gratitude."
On the Central Coast, radio presenter Paddy Gerrard, from 101.3 Sea FM, had a close finish – although the victory went to the Olympic swimming champion.
Central Coast's Donna Dening joined in the festivities with her five children, as two of Donna's daughters receive support from RIDBC for their hearing impairment. Matilda, who is 20 months, and Elizabeth, who is 10 years of age, were both born without ear canals and are deaf.
"RIDBC has been so important to my family," Donna says. "We have been offered counselling, early learning and intervention services to develop the girls' language, and guidance in helping to fit their hearing aids. I now know that my girls can grow up to do anything they want to do."
Susie O’Neill with Glen Eastwood
from Swimart Green Point
Donna's sons Caleb and Joshua jumped in the pool on Sunday in support of their sisters and RIDBC. "It was such a great day, and a worthy cause to support," Donna adds.
With the public able to make donations to Splash for Cash until the end of July, RIDBC is hoping to build on the $38,000 so far raised during the Splash for Cash season.
"The support we received from sponsors and swimmers, as well as from Swimart Ambassador Susie O'Neill, was really fantastic," says Chris Rehn, RIDBC chief executive. "Children with vision or hearing impairment rely on our services to help them achieve to their full potential. We can only continue to provide such specialised care with community support, and we remain greatly indebted to those who volunteer their time and efforts at events like Splash for Cash."