Dialysis patient, 79, swims 100 metres for Churchill Hospital

Christopher Rooke, left, completed four lengths of Wallingford Riverside Pool
Christopher Rooke, left, completed four lengths of Wallingford Riverside Pool

A pensioner who has lost the use of both kidneys and is struggling with multiple health challenges has possibly set a new world record by swimming 100 metres of his local pool.

Christopher Rooke, 69, lost the use of both kidneys five years ago, after being diagnosed with Goodpastures Syndrome – a rare and very serious auto-immune condition, where the body turns against itself and destroys major organs.

The year before, he had also been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease as well as heart failure.

After a summer of training, he swam the four lengths in eight minutes - possibly the fastest anyone with his combination of conditions has swum 100 metres.

Much of Mr Rooke’s life revolves around hospital appointments as he needs lengthy dialysis three times a week.

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This summer he started swimming at the local outdoor pool in Crowmarsh and explained: "For me, it feels like an escape into a different world when I am there – a happy place away from all my medical treatment.

"Swimming was a rather fun thing to do, and I wanted to stretch myself as well."

At the start of his training at Wallingford Riverside Pool, he could complete four lengths of the pool in about 30 minutes.

Over time, with the encouragement of his carers, Hazel and Laura, he reduced this to 15 minutes, then on August 23, as his fitness and mobility improved, he swam the distance in just eight minutes and 10 seconds, timed and authenticated by pool staff member, Ben Titchener.

After the triumphant swim, he treated himself to a Magnum ice cream, which Mr Rooke said 'was nearly as thrilling as the swim itself'.

"Because I am dialysis patient, my diet restricts foods containing potassium and phosphates - which is nearly everything!"

Mr Rooke's proud partner Amanda Vines, said: "From what we can tell this is the fastest anyone with his combination of conditions has swum 100 metres, and we were all really thrilled when the pool put him on their leader board.

"It’s been a real boost."

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Mr Rooke was awarded an engraved trophy and has raised £640 for the Tarver Dialysis Ward at the Churchill Hospital where he has been receiving kidney dialysis for five years.

Ms Vines thanked renal consultant Dr Phil Mason, dialysis nurse Ellie, and Diana and the team.

She added: "We’d also like to thank Dr Simon Knight, Christopher’s vascular access surgeon, who resolved a year of uncertainty by creating a vascular graft."

If Mr Rooke's incredible efforts have inspired you to support your local hospitals, visit www.hospitalcharity.co.uk to find out how you can also make a difference.

 

 

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