Rowing the Thames for Doctors

I am a 17 year old student doing Biology, Chemistry and Maths A levels and aiming to go to university to study medicine.  My plans were somewhat foiled because of this Covid-19 pandemic.
All of a sudden, I’m schooling from home, my exams are cancelled, everyone is in lockdown and the people in the profession I want to follow are in the front line of a worldwide pandemic.
When the government asked for volunteers, I signed up. I wanted to do what I could to support those I was aspiring to join. However, I was told I was too young, that there was nothing I could do.
I think that part of being a doctor is becoming the support system for others. I’ve been watching the news and reading through this pandemic and I’ve been particularly moved by the final year medical students who have been fast tracked through their qualifications and thrown in at the deep-end.  I cannot imagine how dealing with the pandemic must be for experienced doctors let alone those fresh from medical school. It is this that has inspired me to complete a fund raising challenge for the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund in support of those front line doctors.
Rather than just asking for money, I wanted to do something. To challenge myself for them. I looked at what was possible in the lockdown and have decided that I’m going to row on an indoor rowing machine.
My challenge will be to row the length of the Thames, 346km over the next few weeks. I’ve lived close to the Thames both in London and in the countryside. It is my intention that, as I pass through places on it’s banks, I’ll be able to share with you their interesting stories.
I hope you’ll join with me in supporting those who have given up their safety and security during this epidemic to care for those who need it.
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Mel Stewart 
Ruscombe, South East England, United Kingdom
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