British expat to swim round The World islands in Dubai
A British expat is taking the biggest plunge of her life - by aiming to become the first person to swim around The World islands.
Kate Willoughby, 32, is attempting the challenge to raise awareness of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic, incurable illness with a 100 per cent fatality rate.
Kate’s nephew, six-year-old Harrison Smith, who lives in Surrey, England, was diagnosed with the condition in January 2011, and is unlikely to live beyond his late teens or early twenties. The illness affects one in every 3,500 male live births globally; one per cent of sufferers is female.
Her feat will see her try to swim around Nakheel’s manmade development of 300 islands off Dubai’s coast.
“When I learnt about Harrison’s Duchenne diagnosis I was determined to do something to bring the disease into the spotlight and raise some funds towards finding a cure,” said Kate, who works at Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“Swimming The World will be a huge challenge but I’m training hard and have excellent support. It’s great to be able to use a landmark that everybody has heard of to raise money for an illness that few people know anything about.”
Kate, from Surrey, England, will swim The World on Wednesday, November 21, when tide changes are expected to be at their minimum.
Under open water swimming rules she cannot touch a boat or another person during the swim, but a support boat, provided by Nakheel, and kayakers will be on hand to provide water and food.
She will take around 12 hours to cover 25km within The World’s breakwater, the perimeter wall that shields the development’s 300 islands.
The exact route will be revealed nearer the time, when currents have been assessed, but Kate hopes it will include New Zealand, her birthplace, and her home country of Great Britain.
Swim The World will finish at Lebanon Island, home to the Royal Island Beach Club, the first development at The World, where supporters, friends and family – including her nephew Harrison – will be eagerly waiting.
Having done no substantial swimming since she was 14, Kate has enlisted Jay Benner, coach of the UAE national swimming team, and is currently swimming 27km a week over four sessions.
Practice swims in the open water are scheduled from September.
The swim is being held under the umbrella of the UAE Red Crescent in aid of Harrison’s Fund (www.harrisonsfund.org).
Supporters include Nakheel, the Royal Island Beach Club, who have provided the swimsuits and sportswear and branding/communications agency Eleven Creative Strategy.
For more information and to follow Kate’s progress visit www.swimaroundtheworld.me