My goal - Charity Challenge by Kate Steels
Posted on Thursday, March 05 2020 10:35:00 AM in News by Tottie Owen-Smith
My goal is to become the first British person to complete the ultimate extreme Ice Swimming Challenge of the ICE 7 and raise money for the Samaritans in memory of my beloved son Dan.
The ICE 7 comprises of swimming a series of 7 Ice Miles in each of the 7 continents of the world (with some slight variation). An Ice mile is defined as swimming a distance of at least 1,609m in water of 5.0C,or less, wearing standard costume, hat and goggles. No wetsuit, gloves or booties allowed! To make the challenge even tougher, one of these swims must be swum in water below 1 C – an “Ice Zero”.
To date only two people in the world have achieved this phenomenal challenge .
I have competed 8 Ice miles of which 6 count towards my ICE 7. In January 2015 I completed my first Ice mile in the UK. I have also completed my Polar Ice Mile in Norway at 70 degrees north, my African Ice Mile in the High Atlas mountains and the hardest of all my swimming challenges ever, an Ice Zero in China on Christmas Eve in 2017 in water of 0.9C , and wind chill of -22C. I completed my Canadian Ice Mile in Lake Simcoe at Easter 2019. In August I went to New Zealand and completed my Oceanic Ice Mile in Lake Lyndon.
I now need to complete an Ice Mile in South America to complete my ICE 7 and achieve my goal and become the first British person to do so. I want to raise as much money for the Samaritans as I can which will help save lives.
I tragically and totally unexpectedly lost my precious son, Daniel, aged only 19 years in September 2018 just a few days after he started University. My life has been totally shattered. He was my only child. I cannot put into words the excruciating heartache and utter devastation I feel together with the rest of my family.
I have got through the last few months with the help of close friends, family and swimming. It is well documented that sport is good for you both physically and mentally and I know how true that is. I am trying to rebuild my life – it is very very difficult. It will never, and can never, be the same. I have to find a way to live my life and cherish all the special memories I have of Dan. He was a wonderful son who was dearly loved by many people. His smile always melted my heart. He had so much potential, exciting plans and dreams for the future. These are forever gone.
Dan was proud of many of my swimming achievements. My goal is to complete the ICE 7 challenge, and hopefully be the first person in Britain to achieve this, and to raise money for the Samaritans in Daniel’s Memory. I am sure Dan would also have been proud of this.
The Samaritans are a fantastic charity and they provide a valuable service 24 hours a day 365 days a year. There is always someone at the end of the phone to listen and help. The Samaritans literally save lives.
It is difficult for people to reach out for help, especially young men. As a society we need to encourage people to talk and ask for help. We need to breakdown the stigma of mental health.
Suicide is complex. Sometimes people get to a point where they feel no way out - there are always solutions but people may not see them. Problems are usually temporary but death is permanent. Most people do not really want to die but want the pain to stop. The effect of suicide and the ripple effect on others is immense. In the UK 16 people a day on average take their own lives. These people come from all walks of life, all backgrounds
Kate features on our Selkie Charity Challenge page
Her just giving page is :https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kate-steels
Kate's challenge Facebook page is :Ultimate Ice Swimming Challenge and she is on Twitter as @KateSFswims