‘We will push our bodies to the limits to stop eating disorder sufferers from doing the same.’
Blisters on the palms of hands, early morning training, pushing the pain barrier – this was part of everyday life for my daughter, a rower with Melbourne University Boat Club. The physical, mental and emotional exertion this sport required was amazing. But the rowers enjoyed a great camaraderie, a bond of friendship and strength of spirit that would continue far beyond the days of competition. So … it was with great interest that I read the following letter from an inspiration young woman, Esther Rich, a 2nd year Experimental Psychology student at Oxford University:
‘I am contacting you on behalf of Corpus Christi College Boat Club, as eight members of the women’s squad are preparing to row from Oxford to London over three days this summer to raise money for the charity Beat. It is a charity that works to raise awareness of eating disorders and provide support and advice for sufferers and their family and friends.They are particularlyclose to my own heart, as having been hospitalised for nine months for anorexia during my teens I am now fully recovered and volunteer as a Young Ambassador for Beat. We will row the 180km between June 23rd and June 26th and as far as we know are the first female crew to attempt this distance.
‘So this will be a big challenge! We have launched our Just Giving page to receive donations, and are publicising it as widely as we can, with the view that if we are going to put ourselves through this much pain in the name of charity we may as well do everything we can to raise a significant amount of money to make it worth our while.’
Indeed! The team aims to raise GBP 10,000 (about $14,5000 AUD), and already donations are about 30 per cent towards this target. Esther will be exceptionally grateful if you can help her spread the word and encourage donations via your social networks! The international publicity will be a fantastic step for this very worthwhile cause!
For more info: http://concept2.co.uk/blog/post/180km-3-days-pain
Fortunately the donation page supports international donations – the team already has received donations from people in Germany, France and America. Go to it!
How Esther became a Young Ambassador
Esther was diagnosed with anorexia at 15, after suffering for a couple or years, and was hospitalised for nine months. Having fought the incredibly tough battle of recovery she is now studying at Oxford with the aim of becoming a Clinical Psychologist to help people who are suffering eating disorders.
Esther explains how she came to volunteer as a Young Ambassador for Beat:
‘On leaving hospital I made a vow to myself that if I could use my experience to help just one person then it would make it more worthwhile! ‘I decided to organise this rowing event in particular because, since coming to university, I have found that the need for sustained physical strength provided by rowing, as well as the camaraderie, has enabled me to maintain recovery, and I thought it would be fitting to combine the sport I love with my work for Beat!
‘As rowers we inevitably have muscular thighs and regularly turn up to lectures with no make up and sweaty hair after an early morning outing, but we love our bodies and want to show ED sufferers that it is possible for them to get to that point too!’
To help Esther and her team of rowers in this great cause, go to: www.justgiving.com/londonrow
Their progress also can be followed on their Twitter feed: www.twitter.com/CCCBCforBeat
To quote again, the team’s motto: ‘We will push our bodies to the limits to stop eating disorder sufferers from doing the same.’