Passionate open water swimmers will tell you one of the reasons they love the sport so much is because of how alive it makes them feel.
But few of them would know the meaning of those words quite like 24-year-old Theodora Moss.
In September 2013, in her third year at Leeds Medical School, Theo received the news she had Stage 2 Lymphoma.
“Just as I was adjusting to life at one end of the stethoscope I was forced to be on the other as a patient,” said Theo, who decided to have her chemotherapy treatment at St James’s in Leeds to allow her to continue her degree. And as well as having her studies to pull her through, Theo also had swimming.
“While I was having treatment I couldn’t go to public pools because of my weakened immune system,” she said. “It left me very frustrated and as a result of that and my treatment I put on weight.”
But then she found open water swimming. She said: “As my treatment and exams came to end a group of us went to Bolton Abbey and went swimming there. Diving into the clear Yorkshire river I have never felt more alive.” Theo has nothing but praise for the treatment at St James’s, The Bexley Wing and the Teenage Cancer Trust. But she says at 20 she did feel a lot older than the teenagers being treated.
It was then she was contacted but Trekstock, a charity which supports young people aged between 20 and 30 with cancer and was looking to expand into Leeds.
Theo is now a Trekstock ‘champion’ and is helping to establish a monthly Cuppa and Connect service in Leeds.
She has also signed up for a one-mile sponsored open water swim as she looks to give something back to Trekstock. Donate: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TheodoraMoss