Swimming To Stop The Cycle Of Trauma

£1,720 of £3,000 goal

Raised by 35 people in 8 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! I am so glad you're here and hope that after you read more about why I am swimming the English Channel, you'll sponsor my swim, or support one of my two chosen charities, so that together we can inspire others.

In July 2019, I'll be swimming over 14 hours as the first Tongan-American, and Samoan native to swim the English Channel because I want to help break cycles of trauma. That's right, 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. 

But why attempt this?

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 as a trauma survivor myself, I know all too well that well-timed and  thoughtfully delivered interventions are key to any successful recovery. Without them,  I have witnessed first-hand how quickly one can spiral into isolation and dark places in the mind. I have lived this myself.  You probably know someone like that, too - but they haven’t told you.

So what do I mean by trauma?  Trauma: emotional shock following a stressful event or a physical injury, which may lead to long-term neurosis.

Trauma impacts large swaths of our society, from war veterans to abuse survivors, from the suicide bereaved to emergency service workers. But no one is really talking about it. Instead, the majority of trauma survivors have to figure their own way out of periods of neurosis with little to no help from others.

Born thousands of miles from the mainland, as a Pacific Islander, I grew up in a culture that didn't talk about mental health or the lifelong effects of trauma.  It took many years before I was formally diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder resulting from abuses sustained as a child and a subsequent assault years later. 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 a resident 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 of how trauma changes people mentally and emotionally. The inability to talk about this or even sign-post resources often leaves people feeling 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. How? Well, tomorrow alone - 16 people in the UK alone will have taken their own lives that could get help today. And still thousands more will silently fade into the shadows. But it does not have to be this way.

I was one of the lucky ones who had the right intervention – and my re-ignited passion for swimming and campaigning are evidence that trauma is treatable and that there is hope. That's why I want to channel hope for others but I can't do it alone.

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 recovery -  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.

How can you help? You can do so in one of several ways:

1) Sponsor my historic attempt (I'll be the 1st female Pacific Islander in history) by donating on this page. Your much needed sponsorship will help to get me across the channel.

2) Donate to Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide so we can keep their vital support services thriving. You can donate on the page I created: https://www.gofundme.com/ndvck7-a-cause-i-care-about-needs-help

3) Donate to The Children's Trust so we can help give children with brain injury the best possible future. You can donate on the page I created: https://www.gofundme.com/manage/halani039s-campaign-for-the-children039s-trust

4)  Share this story on your social media or with the local press. The more we can raise awareness, the more we can help others in need.

Let's Channel Hope together!

Thank you for taking time to read this!

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Today I decided to smash it! I put my head down and swam, further than I ever have before. Six hours and 16K later, I officially qualified to swim my solo across the English Channel with a water temp of 14.6 C.
It was a week ahead of schedule for me but I knew in my heart, today was the day. I could even see the silhouette of France in the far distance. I owe a debt of gratitude to so many of you who have supported me this far, in so many ways. Today’s swim was my love in action. Thank you! Next step? Longer swims and more training in the lead up to my solo swim! #channelhope
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With just over seven weeks until my scheduled swim, I seem to live in Dover these days. I’ve transitioned from winter training in my tiny 25 meter pool to longer open water swims in local lakes and the sea. Although I am thrilled to be back in the open water this month - it’s still cold!!!

Without a doubt, this is the toughest thing I have ever tried to do. Although I am usually good at staying positive, an epic long distance swim and the training it requires has taken me to unimaginable highs and lows. I get excited and then I get scared. I feel empowered and then I feel helpless.

The best thing I’ve learned however, is not to think about it too much and just put my head down in the water and swim. So that’s what I am doing, day after day, week after week in the lead up to the big day.

But I could not have made it this far without your support. Thank you for everything. It’s people like you who help to keep me focused on the mission at hand. And I am sorry if I’ve not expressed that enough.

I am grateful that you are with me on this journey and for such great causes. ✨✨

Mahalo nui loa!
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Greetings everyone,

This is to let you know that Dover Training starts this weekend! I can hardly believe it as the long winter months of training in the pool are now slowly being replaced with open water swims. In the last two weeks, I've headed down to Bournemouth and Poole for sea swims and have also taken advantage of a local quarry in Surrey where we can now swim three times a week. But mind you, the water is still COLD! :)

The sea was 10 degrees and the quarry in Betchworth was a balmy 12 degrees. But I thought it best to get myself started on the acclimatisation process (in addition to my cold showers and baths all winter!) because from this weekend onward, my sea swims will just get longer and longer. Thankfully as they do, the sea temperature will rise with it in the weeks ahead.

A bit of good news from my technical coach, too. Just as I make this transition back into the sea, my front crawl stroke is where we want it to be in terms of form. I'm swimming at my most efficient ever which will help me to get farther faster without exerting more energy. That's going to be important to keep me swimming well hour after hour across the English Channel.

So stay tuned as I report back about the first weekend in Dover, training with other crazy open water marathon swimmers.

And thank you again for you support and for joining me on this once in a lifetime journey!
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Important correction! It's approximately 16,000+ strokes across the English Channel and not 1 million. My number was multiplied at a crucial point when it should have been divided in the calculation. My apologies for that error. The plus side is - 16,000 strokes actually feels more doable, thank heavens. Apologies again.
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£1,720 of £3,000 goal

Raised by 35 people in 8 months
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