Taking on one of his toughest challenges yet, Professor Andy Wolf is set to swim solo across the English Channel this August for the Bristol Children’s Hospital cardiac unit where he worked for over 20 years.
The swim will see Andy cover over 21 miles as he sets off from the Dover coast until reaching dry land in France. He will have to contend with cold water, fatigue and jelly fish as he crosses one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes in just goggles, a hat, and swimming trunks. This is a difficult challenge and many more people have stood on top of Everest than have swum the Channel!
In the process, Andy aims to raise an ambitious £20,000 to establish a ground-breaking 3D bio-printing service for the South West, Wales and beyond. 3D printing allows exact replicas of an individual heart to be made. This is used to allow the team to plan and even practice complex operations before surgery. It also can crucially help young patients and their families to understand even the most complex cardiac conditions and operations.
Pioneering work from the Children’s Hospital and Bristol Heart Institute are taking this a step further. The team are working towards true “bio-printing”, where the patient’s own stem cells are used to make individualised tissues that grow with a child after repair, thereby dramatically reducing the amount of operations a cardiac patient has to endure as they grow. This facility will be the one of the first of its kind in the U.K. and Andy knows all too well from his own experiences the amazing impact it will have on the hospital’s young patients. In the future this unique service will be extended out to help in surgeries with other non-cardiac related problems.
Bristol Children’s Hospital Cardiac team serves a large geographical area across the South West and Wales with over 400 operations undertaken for the children of this region and beyond.
After successfully completing a relay across the channel in September last year with six colleagues and doctors from the Children’s Hospital, Andy felt inspired to take on this mammoth challenge on his own and raise vital money for the children he has spent so much of his life caring for. We are so grateful to have such a dedicated and motivated fundraiser join #TeamGrandAppeal, and we’ll be cheering Andy on as he battles through 21 miles of tides, waves and cold water.
Donate today and help Andy save lives and support children with serious cardiac conditions. If you’d like to follow Andy’s intense training regime and keep up to date with his fundraising efforts, check out his blogs on Facebook and Twitter!