Swim Skills Academy, a swimming club from Tamworth, have dived head-first into fundraising by holding sponsored swim, managing to raise £3,600 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, as a thank you for the life-saving treatment their pool manager’s daughter, Belle Stevenson, eight, received in 2021. 

Belle is the daughter of the pool manager, Michael Stevenson. She was just five-years-old when she experienced a drooping face which raised alarm bells to her parents. They immediately took her to her local GP, who ran some blood tests and by the afternoon, they had been told to make their way to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. After a series of further tests, the devastating news was confirmed, Belle had Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, which is an aggressive cancer of the white blood cells and would require immediate treatment. 

Belle endured chemotherapy over a six-month period, which luckily cured her cancer. Two years on, Belle is officially in remission and doing much better. 

After seeing how the hospital and the staff cared for Belle during that difficult period, Michael and Swim Skills Academy head coach Simon Mortimer rallied their swimmers to take on a sponsored swim challenge. 

The group of 25-plus swimmers, aged from seven to 15 years, were split into two sessions and all swimmers were tasked with swimming for as long as they could within two hours. Some swimmers reached over two miles in their slot. The atmosphere on the day was electric, with participants and their families all cheering each other on, making it easier to fight through any fatigue. 

Each swimmer also collected their own donations and then paid that into the club, which led to the phenomenal total of £3,600 raised. 

Michael said: “I am so proud of everyone at Swim Skills Academy. With the tough time Belle went through, and them witnessing how poorly she got, it is amazing to see how many people she inspired to do something brilliant.  

We loved fundraising to give to this amazing charity and this is only the beginning. We would love to do something even bigger next time! Every swimmer did extremely well and showed how brilliant they are.” 

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Having a child in hospital can be such a terrifying experience and Michael saw first-hand just what that reality can look like, but also how our doctors and nurses are there to support families as best they can. I’m thrilled that Swim Skills Academy have raised such a brilliant fundraising total. It’s truly inspiring.”