Paul Mears and Danny Hirst raise over £7,500 for Save Samantha appeal with Canary Island swim

Date published: 24 November 2017

Paul Mears and Danny Hirst have raised £7,532.50 for the Save Samantha appeal by swimming between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.

The duo took on the intense challenge at the end of October, braving the rough waves of the Atlantic.

Paul completed the gruelling distance in seven hours, whereas Danny  was pulled out of the water just before the halfway point too sick to continue.

Danny, from Wardle, said: “I am delighted we raised so much as it is a good chunk of the bills that Samantha has to pay for her previous operations.

“I am pretty gutted I could not do it. It was rough and choppy, and I just got pretty seasick. The swell was so bad during the first hour that they took us off course. The conditions did start to become nicer but unfortunately by then, I was too ill.

“We stopped for a re-feed and I was so sick. Two hours into the swim, I knew my nutrition had done and they fished me out of the water onto the support boat at 4.7 miles.”

Despite not completing the full 10 miles, Danny says he would not change a thing about the day.

“I am glad I did it and I would not change a thing. Paul made it and achieved it which is something he will have with him for the rest of his life now,” he added.

Danny is planning to take on Lake Windermere later next year, swimming a 10.5 mile distance.

He explained: “That is more like the conditions I am used to, and it will be a hell of a day. I am confident in this as I do a lot of lake swimming and swimming in Salford Quays. Registration has not opened yet, but I am going to book on as soon as it does – and I think Paul might do it with me too.”

The Save Samantha appeal was set up to help mother-of-two Samantha Smith from Smithy Bridge raise an urgently-needed £150,000 towards lifesaving neurosurgery.

Samantha, 31, will return to Washington in January, for a post-op follow-up with the leading surgeon who carried out her previous two life-saving surgeries. Sam hopes he will offer clarity and further professional opinions on how the surgeries have settles, and plans to move forward.

She has also booked an appointment with a specialist in Barcelona next month for scans, tests and further advice.

Rochdale Online has closely followed Samantha’s journey since April, when we broke the news of her desperate race to raise £150,000 for lifesaving neurosurgery after her brain and spinal cord were being crushed under the weight of her own skull.

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