A DETERMINED teenager from Littlehampton will be pushing his body to the limit when he tackles a gruelling 15-mile swim next week.
Nathan Abbott, 17, is taking on his epic swimming mission on Saturday, August 23, all to raise money for a charity close to his heart.
The teen is taking on the exhausting event for Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft lip and palate charity.
Nathan, who was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate and has undergone 28 reconstructive operations to date, raised almost £3,000 for Smile Train last year, swimming 15 miles from Littlehampton pier to Worthing and back again.
Although he did not quite complete the whole distance on that occasion, being pulled from the water for safety concerns, he said he has been training avidly ever since to tackle next week’s fundraiser.
But this latest event certainly isn’t without its own difficulties as he will be pitted against Mother Nature herself in a race against time.
He will be swimming from Greatham Bridge in Coldwaltham, to the Littlehampton RNLI lifeboat station in Fisherman’s Quay.
If he doesn’t reach the station before the tide turns, he will have to swim against the Arun’s powerful current.
The determined teen said: “I’m on a mission to give a child like me who was born with a cleft lip and palate a second chance in life and my swimming challenges raise money and awareness to help achieve that.
“I recognise that I’m fortunate to have been born into a society where cleft lip and palate is treated as standard, but for many children in developing countries this isn’t the case, which is why I’ve chosen to support Smile Train.
“This year’s swimming challenge will be a real test of my physical and mental endurance as I need to get to the RNLI before the tide turns.”
Nathan is aiming to complete his swim in about four hours. However, he added: “To date, it has been attempted many times before, but never been completed.”
Daniel Coleman, Smile Train manager, said: “We are delighted that Nathan is taking on this remarkable challenge.
“As a former cleft patient, Nathan understands the life-changing impact these surgeries can have, and by raising money for Smile Train he is helping us to improve the lives of so many children with cleft lip and palate around the world.”
For more information or to make a donation, visit the Facebook page www.facebook.com/FreestyleForSmile or see his JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/Nathan-Abbott
For details about Smile Train please visit www.SmileTrain.org.uk