Woman completes 5k swim in Fareham to help terminally-ill friend

Karen Hannaby did a sponsored swim at Fareham Leisure Centre for her friend Mike O'Callaghan, known as Jim, who has a brain tumor, ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (151027-1)
Karen Hannaby did a sponsored swim at Fareham Leisure Centre for her friend Mike O'Callaghan, known as Jim, who has a brain tumor, ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (151027-1)

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  • Sponsored event raises £2,000
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CARING Karen Hannaby completed a 5km swim to help raise funds for her friend who has a brain tumour.

She dived in and did the swim at Fareham Leisure Centre to raise £500 to send her friend Mike O’Callaghan, known as Jim, on holiday.

Mike O'Callaghan, known as Jim  Picture: Paul Jacobs (151027-2)

Mike O'Callaghan, known as Jim Picture: Paul Jacobs (151027-2)

And determined Karen was delighted to smash her target, raising £2,000 instead.

The 48-year-old, from Fareham, swam 200 lengths, but admitted that she wasn’t totally sure if she’d be able to finish it.

She said: ‘I’m not a swimmer really, but when Jim was taken poorly I decided to do it.

‘There were plenty of doubts to begin with. After the first 20 lengths I was struggling and when I got to the 100 mark there was another doubt.

When I saw Jim standing up and shouting for me, I knew I couldn’t let him down

Karen Hannaby, from Fareham

‘But when I saw Jim standing up and shouting for me, I knew I couldn’t let him down.’

Mr O’Callaghan is terminally ill and has just weeks to live.

Karen, a secretary administrator at an accountancy firm, said: ‘It really has been astonishing.

‘I think the story has got to a lot of people’s hearts.

‘It is incredible how so many people care.’

One of those people was the football legend Paul Gascoigne who wrote a letter to Mr O’Callaghan last month. In it he told the 56-year-old ‘You’re an inspiration.’

Fareham Leisure Centre, which is run by Everyone Active let Ms Hannaby use the pool for free for her swim and her training.

Centre manager Ryan Grant said: ‘It’s clear that Karen is doing all she can for a friend in need.’

Mr O’Callaghan said he was overwhelmed by the support shown for him.

He said: ‘What Karen has done really is so kind.

‘There is a lot of love from caring people all around me including those looking after me at the hospice.

‘I am going through a 
very challenging period of my life.

‘The funds are for me and my partner Gina to go on holiday – she deserves it so much.’

To make a donation go to crowdfunding.justgiving.com/karen-hannaby-3