#SwimMS

Written by on August 26th, 2014 –

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(Kits Beach, Vancouver, BC, Canada)

So a few months ago, you may have read my post about Taryn Lencoe’s 12 hour solo ocean marathon swim for MS. My husband has known Taryn’s dad since he was a kid (he was my husband’s swim coach) and we had crossed paths at Vancouver Open Water Swim (VOWSA) events, but the day I interviewed Taryn to write the post was the first time we’d met.

Taryn is a beautiful woman-she is warm and funny and has a gentle, thoughtful spirit that belies the fierce competitive streak that lies beneath. When I met her, I just wanted to hug her and by the time we’d finished talking, I did just that. You can’t help but like her instantly. 

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(Taryn wearing her MS & NMO bracelets.)

Taryn is in a word, a SHEro and here’s why: She wanted the opportunity to make a difference and so she figured out how to take the gifts she possesses and leverage the support of the community she belongs to help those living with MS and NMO. Her goal was to raise $10,000. That’s no small sum. I am pleased to report that before she had even dipped her toes in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday, she had exceeded her goal. Currently, her fundraising total is $13,891 and counting!

 

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(Taryn coming out of the water on her first break, after 3 hrs.)

While Taryn was swimming, I had the pleasure of helping out at the MS Society’s booth on the beach. I got to meet members of her triathlon team, who came en mass to make donations and support her. I met her co-workers, her family and a ton of strangers who had heard about her swim in the local paper or  had seen the live tv reports from the beach while she was swimming. People wrote cheques, they donated cash or took home a card with info about how they could donate online. One guy, a runner, stopped by the booth and told me he was donating his coffee money. People gave whatever they had and they did it with smiles on their faces. Because Taryn cared so passionately about what she was doing, she inspired all these people to care and to want to support her cause.

 

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 (Taryn at the end of her 12 hr. swim. Photo by Chantal Lauzon.)

I know there must have been times when Taryn was training over the last year and a half where what she was trying to do must have seemed overwhelming. I know there must have been times where she got scared and wondered if she was going to be able to pull it off. It’s no different from how any of us who have MS or NMO feel about living with our illness. We get overwhelmed and scared too, but like Taryn, we just keep going because we dig down deep to find that little piece of ourselves that is brave and the people around us step up and support us so that little by little, we face the big things and get through them.

 

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(Taryn’s selfie of her post race recovery.)

THANK YOU Taryn for giving up 15 months of your life to make this happen. It is an amazing accomplishment and we are so proud of you! THANK YOU also to your generous sponsors, friends and family for supporting you in your quest. Their generosity of spirit was a beautiful thing to witness.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.  –Margaret Mead

 

Links to coverage of Taryn’s Swim:

Global BC

CBC News

Chinese TV

The Vancouver Courier

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