This Is How His Body Looked After Swimming For 55 Hours Straight To Raise Funds For A Good Cause
Many people were captivated by the story of Olympic swimmer Maarten van der Weijden, who attempted to swim 120 miles in order to raise funds for cancer research. Do you want to know more about this incredible man and how he beat cancer?
Since childhood, it was clear that Maarten had a promising future as a swimmer. After his parents enrolled him in classes, young Maarten used to win most competitions he took part in.
As in every rivalry between siblings, Maarten began to love swimming even more, when he realized that he was better than his sister. It was not long before he started competing professionally. His future looked bright and he was standing out in his career.
From 1998 to 2000, the rising star became a 12-time Dutch national champion in 1500m freestyle, 400m freestyle, and 5km open water. Nothing seemed to stand in his way to the Olympic medal.
However, his dreams of conquering the world of swimming almost faded when he was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 19. His case didn’t look good and the chances of surviving leukemia seemed very slim. He spent the next several years undergoing chemotherapy and a stem cell transplantation.
Just two years after the diagnosis, Maarten returned as a competitive swimmer. In 2003, he qualified for the World Open Water Championships in Barcelona. In 2004, Maarten swam across the largest lake in the Netherlands, Ijsselmeer, in 4 hours 20 minutes, beating the previous record by almost 15 minutes.
In 2008, he won a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics and became a living legend in his country. After this world triumph, he decided to turn his life around and devote himself to helping find a cure for cancer.
In order to contribute to this goal, the medalist sought a very original way to raise funds – he decided to swim 200 kilometers. Maarten had to drop his attempt only 37 kilometers from the finish line due to an illness sustained in the water. Although he didn’t manage to complete the incredible challenge, the fundraising campaign was a huge success collecting more than 5 million dollars.
During those 55 hours of swimming throughout 3 days, Maarten was allowed to take short breaks for naps. His body started developing electrolyte imbalance. But he pushed through and did a superhuman job making a substantial contribution to the cause of fighting cancer.
The story of this man is worthy of admiration. Maarten van der Weijden is a real living legend to the people of his country and all around the world for pursuing a noble cause, his incredible determination and superhuman abilities.