Cancer Survivor Swims for 54 Hours Straight


Alexis Bitnar, Fresh Face Editor

Covered in grimy salt, Sarah Thomas climbed out of the English Channel fatigued and sleep deprived after 54 hours of straight swimming. She is the first person to swim across the English Channel. Sarah, a 34-year-old cancer survivor, planned to swim through the English Channel before undergoing chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation for an aggressive form of breast cancer.   She finished her treatment about 1 year ago. As Sarah told BBC Breakfast in an interview, she dedicated the swim to “all the survivors out there.” The swim was 84 miles but because of currents and tides, she swam roughly 130 miles.

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One of Sarah’s biggest challenges was “Probably dealing with the saltwater over four days, or two days, it really hurts your throat, your mouth and your tongue.” You may wonder how she survived that long in the water. She lived off of electrolyte and caffeine-filled drinks and sometimes a friend would jump in the water and give her food and drinks. Sara was diagnosed with breast cancer in November of last year and at the time prior to planning this swim, her doctors doubted that she “would ever return to peak form” but Sara still completed her goal.

Oceans campaigner Lewis Pugh, who swam the length of the Channel last year, wrote on Twitter: “Extraordinary, amazing, super-human!!!”