Talent has a giving heart

Ruby Elder used her studies to raise money for cancer by swimming 16km in Hervey Bay waters.
Ruby Elder used her studies to raise money for cancer by swimming 16km in Hervey Bay waters. Alistair Brightman

A 13-year-old Hervey Bay girl bravely battled through an arduous swim as a way to support people suffering from cancer.

Fraser Coast Anglican College Year 9 student Ruby Elder completed the 16km ocean marathon along the foreshore at Hervey Bay.

Flanked by her family, who followed and supported by boat throughout the epic four and a half hour journey, the talented swimmer was left amazed by some interesting encounters she experienced during the expedition.

"I started and it was only 13 degrees (Celsius) out of the water so my arms just got really cold and didn't warm up for the whole of the swim," Ruby said.

"I was actually really hoping that no sharks would come, there were a few dolphins, I could hear them squeaking under the water and then dad told me after the swim he had seen them out there following us - it was quite a shock."

The long-distance effort was one of the talented sportswoman's first forays into open water after she completed the 3.4km Pier 2 Pub recently in preparation.

She said without the aid of a black line, which she normally follows as part of her squad training, keeping focus and on course had been another testing aspect of the swim.

The fundraising was part of a Fraser Coast Anglican College Year 9 personal challenge assignment that students are encouraged to take part in - although not all took their challenge to the extreme like Ruby.

She said some kids had been making pillows and donating them to raise funds for breast cancer, while others choreographed dance routines.

She said the idea for the challenge came from wanting to use her passion for swimming in a way she had not previously considered.

"I hadn't done many open water swims before and I thought it would be good for training and experience," Ruby said.

She said the swim was met with trepidation by her mother but said she eventually relented and supported her daughter in her fundraising endeavour.

Topics:  cancer, fraser coast anglican college, health, pier 2 pub, ruby elder



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