A message from our CEO
I’d like to commend the courage of our volunteer Paul Hoffman, who last night set out on an incredible 60km solo open water swim to help us to provide life saving heart surgery.
Unfortunately, around 11pm last night, around five hours into the swim, Paul re-injured his shoulder, which he damaged in last year’s attempt at this swim. Paul was unable to continue.
Paul put in six months of training to prepare for the swim, on top of six months of physiotherapy and rehabilitation for his injured arm and shoulder. While the swim has not ended the way any of us had hoped, we are still incredibly grateful to Paul for putting his body on the line to support our cause.
Paul’s swim is over but his ambition of raising $10,000 to provide life-saving heart surgery for a young person from Timor-Leste can still be realised. We’re hoping our friends will boost Paul’s spirits in the most tangible way possible, by donating.
All of us in the East Timor Hearts Fund family wish Paul a speedy recovery.
I would also like to sincerely thank all of the volunteers who assisted the swim, and our generous sponsors, Homely.com.au and Brighton Baths Health Club.
- Stuart Thomson, CEO
A message from Paul
Not the ending I was hoping for, unfortunately another shoulder injury has put an end to the Geelong to Brighton swim. Massive thanks go to the team today Michael Gregory, Michelle A Fullerton, AV, Chris Neesham, Steven Klugman, Spencer Roberts and Eugene Bonollo. Also massive thanks to the Matthew Paynter, Rachael Campbell and the team at Brighton Baths Health Club for all their support. Finally a big thanks has to go to the team at Homely.com.au, without them we would not have had a support boat. To say I am disappointed with the outcome is a massive understatement.
- Paul Hoffman
After a 24 hour delay due to an unfavourable weather forecast, Paul's epic swim is ON!
Come and cheer our courageous volunteer as he starts his 60km solo ocean swim for healthy hearts.
6.30 PM, Saturday 18 March, Eastern Beach, Geelong.
See you there!
East Timor Hearts Fund volunteer and marathon swimmer Paul Hoffman plans to swim the equivalent of two English Channels to help provide life-saving heart treatment for a young person from Timor-Leste (East Timor).
Paul’s epic 60km solo swim will take up to 25 hours, starting from Eastern Beach in Geelong and finishing at Brighton Baths, in bayside Melbourne.
A volunteer with East Timor Hearts Fund, Paul said seeing the medical charity transform the lives of young patients inspired him to take on the marathon swim.
“Some of these patients are not much older than my own kids, and quite often all they need is a fairly simple heart procedure so that they can get on with their lives and fulfil their aspirations,” Paul said.
“I’m lucky enough to have great health, and I’m happy there is something I can do to give others a second chance at a healthy life as well.”
This will be only the second time anyone has swum from Geelong to Melbourne, and is Paul’s second attempt at the bay crossing. During last year’s try, Paul tore a bicep tendon around five hours in. He gamely swam on for an hour using only one arm, before conceding defeat – but vowing to return.
After an operation, six months of physiotherapy and six months of training, during which he has swum up to 40 km a week in the pool and ocean, Paul said he was looking forward to success.
“This time it’s very personal. This is unfinished business for me. I don’t like leaving things unaccomplished.”
Paul swam the English Channel in 2014 to celebrate his 40th birthday. His other epic swims include Portarlington to Frankston (47km) and Bairnsdale to Lakes Entrance (40km).
Dubbed the Baths 2 Baths swim (as it starts and ends at Victoria’s last remaining sea baths, at Eastern Beach in Geelong and Brighton), the swim will take place over the weekend of 17-19 March. Tides and weather will determine the exact timing.
A support crew using a main 52 ft vessel and an inflatable boat will accompany Paul, but under the rules of open-water swimming he is not allowed to touch either boat or receive assistance other than food and drink. He will wear only Speedos, a cap and goggles as wetsuits are prohibited.
Paul aims to raise $10,000 – around 50 per cent of the cost of heart surgery for a patient.
Supporters can donate to East Timor Hearts Fund and leave messages of support via Everyday Hero.
Brighton Baths Health Club and homely.com.au are sponsoring the event, which will also support a charitable foundation established for Will Murray, a young man who was injured in a diving accident in 2015.