Ten-year-old's month-long swim challenge in grandad’s memory

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A 10-year-old boy from Kent has set himself a month-long challenge to help fund vital research into brain tumours. 

Jacob McGowan is aiming to swim 5,000 metres this month (January) in aid of Brain Tumour Research. 

The youngster, from Medway, is taking on the challenge in memory of his paternal grandfather, Paul White, who died of brain cancer last May, aged 60. 

Jacob’s mum, Kay, said: “Jacob’s challenge was born out of his need to channel his grief into something positive. After losing Paul, he struggled with feeling up and down, angry and upset, but the peacefulness and focus of being in the water helped.” 

Paul, a director of health and safety at Beck Interiors, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma (GBM) in July 2022 after suffering with migraines, impaired speech and a loss of sight in one eye which resulted in him driving into the central reservation.  

Despite surgery followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy, Paul’s tumour continued to grow and, opting for quality of life, he decided not to pursue further treatment. He declined quickly and passed away just 10 months after diagnosis. 

Mum-of-two Kay, 38, said: “Seeing Paul lose his independence was incredibly sad. Before then, he’d been really active and had so much to live for.  

Jacob and Paul had always been kindred spirits because of their love of sport. He would champion the kids and was full of praise and encouragement. I think that’s partly what’s spurring Jacob on, their shared love of sport and knowing how proud Paul would be of him.” 

To support Jacob’s fundraising, visit www.justgiving.com/page/jacob-mcgowan-1704033020045

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