Schoolgirl makes a splash with fundraising swimathon

2 min read

An eight-year-old girl has completed her own swimathon, inspired by the father of a school friend and the grandmother she never met.

Leia designed and planned her own swimathon to honour her friend Avanna’s dad, Sam Suriakumar, who was diagnosed with a low-grade glioma in February 2020. Earlier this year a routine scan detected growth and Sam, 38, underwent a biopsy followed by radiotherapy. He will soon be starting a nine-month course of chemotherapy.

The swimathon was also in memory of Leia’s grandmother Madhumati, who died from a brain tumour in 1999, aged 38.

The Sutton High School pupil was tasked with coming up with a project involving 140 to mark the school’s 140th birthday celebrations. She chose to swim 140 lengths in just seven days with a target to raise £140. Leia completed the challenge on Saturday 28th October, having already raised double her target, with donations still coming in.

Leia said: “I enjoy being in the water and, although my favourite stroke is breast stroke, for this I’ve mixed it up a bit and used butterfly and front crawl too. I like doing things for charity that involve sports.”

This is not the first time Leia and her family have taken part in fundraising for Brain Tumour Research. They also took part in the 24-hour kickathon that Sam, a dedicated supporter, organised last July, which raised more than £12,500 for the charity.

To add your donation to Leia’s incredible 140 project go to

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