Ex-South Tyneside lifeguard who beat cancer and had leg amputated taking on fundraising challenge in South Shields as he sets sights on Paris 2024 Paralympics
An ex-RNLI lifeguard who beat cancer and underwent an amputation is taking on a mammoth fundraising challenge as he sets his sights on the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
Jake Woods was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at the age of 27, an aggressive rare bone cancer, in his right hip, and after a year of chemotherapy needed his right leg and half his pelvis amputated.
Previously, Jake spent eight summers as a lifeguard for RNLI in Sunderland and South Tyneside and regularly took part in triathlons, swimming events and half marathons.
Now, Jake has set himself a number of challenges to keep himself fit and raise money for charity including hill climbs, swims and tough mudder before setting his sights on qualifying for the Paris 2024 Paralympics.
In his first challenge on July 29, Jake, from Yorkshire, will be supported by RNLI lifeguards as he swims three miles from South Shields Pier to Marsden Grotto, with half the proceeds raised going towards RNLI and the other half contributing to his para-sports equipment costs.
Jake said: “Having been a lifeguard for eight years, I know first-hand the importance of the RNLI’s work. I don’t think I’d be the person I am now if it wasn’t for the experiences and opportunities I had with the RNLI.
“The RNLI and its lifeguard service are a valuable asset to the communities they serve and it’s important that they are funded to continue this work. I really want to give something back to a charity close to my heart and I am immensely appreciative of my ex-colleagues who’ll be keeping me safe during my swim.”
Jake’s lifeguard counterparts down South in Hastings are also rallying behind him as they plan to hold their own sea swim fundraiser at the same time.
Joe Mitchell, an RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager in Hastings, said: “I first met Jake 10 years ago working as an RNLI Lifeguard in the North East of England. Despite us moving to opposite ends of the UK, we remain good friends. I am immensely proud of Jake and the other lifeguards in the East Sussex area.”