November 08, 2017
Action for M.E. is delighted to support a new film, currently in production, that tells the story of Beth French, who set out to swim the seven most dangerous sea-channels in the world – a challenge known as Oceans7.
Beth intended to be the first person ever to complete the challenge within 12 months, but made the hard decision earlier this year to cut the challenge short. Being the single mother of an autistic son who she home schools, Beth felt the toll the challenge was taking on his well-being was too great to continue.
As she explains: “Juggling life as a self-employed lone parent is tough. Swimming offered me balance and adventure, which I craved. But since the Molokai Channel, I have had a different perspective. I have not been able to sleep solo for eight months and it’s getting worse. Dyl’s anxiety peaks around the swims and has been getting more violent/tempestuous. It was a huge decision, but the lesson I chose today is to let go. I knew I can be driven, I am tenacious and I absolutely believe that I could achieve Oceans7 in a year. But the cost to my son is too great. My perspective is that this adventure has taught me so much. I don’t need to prove anything. I hope I continue to inspire others not just to challenge themselves, but that it is also OK to not get where you thought you were going."
BAFTA and EMMY-nominated filmmaking team, Nick Read and Stefan Stuckert, are now fundraising to enable them to complete Oceans7, the film they have begun, telling Beth’s remarkable story.
We are hugely grateful to Beth, and the Oceans7 team, for choosing to donate a percentage of the money raised to Action for M.E., a decision inspired by Beth’s experience of having M.E. as a child.
“When I began to suffer in 1988, it was a suspected bout of mononucleosis or glandular fever that triggered a nine-year struggle with pain, exhaustion and immune impairment," remembers Beth. "I was only 10 years old. For many, life touched by M.E. is forever. I am fortunate enough to say I live completely without symptoms, although I have changed my life to stay that way.”
Speaking tonight at the launch of the Livetree crowdfunder for the film, Clare Ogden, Head of Communications and Policy, Action for M.E., will reinforce Beth’s message that, for many, the impact of M.E. is one that is life-long.
“We know that, for most people with M.E., taking on a physical challenge such as this is not even remotely possible,” says Clare. “I will make it clear that Beth’s story is unique, and that while some children and adults with M.E. recover, and others improve, many others do not.”