Halani Swims To Channel Hope

£1,245 of £6,000 goal

Raised by 21 people in 4 months
"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

Welcome to my CHANNEL HOPE Campaign.

In July 2019, I'll be the first Tongan-American, and Samoan native to swim the English Channel to “Channel Hope” for trauma survivors. At least 21 miles alone, through hundreds of super-tankers, stinging jellyfish and ice cold water cold enough to kill,  across the busiest shipping lane in the world.


Because there’s a far bigger challenge and the chances are someone you know  - here in the UK or on dry land beyond - is facing it right now.

As someone who understands the multi-layered impact of trauma because I am trauma survivor myself, I know all too well that well-timed and  thoughtfully delivered interventions are key to any successful recovery. Also, having lost one parent to suicide and as a former carer for the other with a brain injury, as well as a professional fundraiser for The Children’s Trust – a UK based charity that supports children and families impacted by trauma of brain injury, I know first-hand how quickly one can spiral into isolation following a traumatic event. I have lived this myself.  You probably know someone like that, too - but they haven’t told you.

Born thousands of miles from mainland, as a Pacific Islander, I grew up in a culture that didn't talk about mental health, suicide, or the lifelong effects of trauma.  It took many years before I was formally diagnosed with complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder resulting from a historic assault and subsequent incidents. For many years I struggled silently, afraid to talk -  years I didn’t want to die -  but I didn't know how to live either.

Now living in the UK, I was finally assessed and diagnosed in 2015. Sadly it was a hard fought victory that came too late for my own beautiful and incredibly talented mum, who hid  her own struggle, until her sudden death by suicide.

Three years on, I am not afraid anymore. But I am very concerned. Within our communities, we still have a limited understanding and often see stigma still attached to trauma survivors, mental illness, and suicide. I'm concerned that too many others feel scared and vulnerable. Yet without help and easy access to resources, their lives are at increased risk.

When we don’t talk or treat – we jeopardise human life. For example, tomorrow 16 people in the UK alone will have taken their own lives that could get help today. While thousands of others will silently fade into the shadows. And for those who experience a brain injury, the true impact of the injury often surfaces many months, even years later in behavioural and cognitive challenges. Yet, at this point individuals no longer have easy access to clinical support for their traumatic injury.

I was one of the lucky ones who had the right intervention – and swimming and campaigning show that trauma is treatable and that there is hope. 

My journey witnessed unexpected sources of support, numerous trauma survivors, and reconnected me with something I’ve always loved – the healing power of open water swimming. And now my biggest ever journey, with your help, can inspire many others in their own daily challenges -  not to give up – not to be consumed beneath their own dark waves of hopelessness.  

So I hope you’ll support me in this once in a lifetime challenge. Your much needed sponsorship will help to get me across the channel  - and help to get others across their own gulf between hopelessness and help. Let's Channel Hope together!

Thank you for taking time to read this!

Your sponsorship will help support two charities. How will it help? Here are just a few of the ways our collective contributions would make a BIG difference:

- £2000 would pay for 250 suicide bereavement journals and its distribution to SOBS support groups throughout the UK.  Books like these are a lifeline for those feeling especially isolated and vulnerable.     


- £2000 would pay for four months of the vital transport for Brain Injury specialists in a regional Brain Injury Community Service Programme to ensure every child in need in the region is reached.

- £1000 would pay for the monthly costs of group outings that support social activity and decision making skills that build a child’s confidence after a traumatic brain injury.


-£1000 would pay for the start-up costs of 4 support groups for those bereaved by suicide. These support groups are especially important in rural areas.

- £500 would pay for 50 suicide bereavement journals and their distribution those in great need.


- £500 would pay for the monthly cost of new arts and craft supplies vital for a child’s specialised rehabilitation after brain injury.

If you would like your donation to go specifically to one of these two charities, please just write that in your donation message and I will be sure to both get it to the charity and follow-up with you. There is no amount that is too small because when it is joined up together, we have the power to make a life-transforming difference.  Join me in this effort to Channel Hope. To find out more about the invaluable work these two charities do, please visit:

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide -  https://uksobs.org/

The Children's Trust - https://www.thechildrenstrust.org.uk/
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Hello! It's just under 22 weeks to go and thought that I would share last week's blog post with you. The reason for this is that in the tight knit community of channel swimmers down at Dover, we were recently shaken by the news of a suicide. One of the youngest women to swim the channel, at the age of 17, now 28 and accomplished Ironman, sadly took her own life just a few weeks ago.

It reminded me of how important it is to talk about mental health, personal setbacks, and anything that's on our mind that needs to be shared in order to lessen a personal burden.

It also helped crystallise my own reason for swimming.
Hope you enjoy the post and thank you again for your support!

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Happy New Year everyone! As you can imagine, things are beginning to pick up pace with training and soon after, I'll begin solid campaigning for the Channel Hope swim across the English Channel. It's been a very soft launch to date but thanks to your support, we've already hit the £1,000 mark. I could not have done it without you.

There is no doubt that training is getting tougher but not nearly as tough as the impact of trauma on many innocent lives. I always this when I think, "why am I doing this?" But I know in my heart that this is a cause worth fighting for and with your support, I'll definitely stay motivated. Watch this space in the weeks to come.

And please have a meaningful start to 2019.
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We've broken the £100 mark! There is a long way to go and many more months still; and so every little bit makes a big difference. So grateful to get this kicked -off and see it now moving. It's thanks to all of you. xx
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The first donations are coming in! It's a long distance to go yet, but every journey begins w/ a first step. #charitytuesday #channelhope #channelswim #mentalhealth
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£1,245 of £6,000 goal

Raised by 21 people in 4 months
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