PHYSIOTHERAPIST Brendan Cutts wants to capture attention in a bid for everybody to know how to reduce their risk of stroke.
He will be ‘stroking for stroke’ – tackling the treacherous Rottnest Channel Swim, almost 20 kilometres of open water from Cottesloe Beach in Perth to Rottnest Island.
Working at Ballarat Health Services’ Queen Elizabeth Centre, Cutts works closely with people who have a neurological condition or, predominantly, stroke survivors.
Cutts wants to bring to attention that stroke can affect people of any age and there was a lot people could do for health and prevention, particularly exercise.
“By swimming, I can put a spotlight on exercise to reduce the risks of heart disease, diabetes and stress and high blood pressure, which can all contribute to stroke,” Cutts said.
“I want to try and raise awareness of stroke and how to monitor symptoms, to get the FAST message out there.”
FAST is the easy way to recognise and remember the signs of stroke: Face drooping; Arms (or legs), can they lift them; Speech, slurred or can they understand you; and, Time critical.
Cutts is swimming to raise money for the national Stroke Foundation’s work in supporting stroke survivors and their carers, support and guide therapists, and fund research into reducing the impact of stroke in the community.
He set a goal to raise $3000 but after a strong response – he is about $600 to his target – was hoping to dive right in and make as big an impact as possible as more people take note of his mission.
Cutts’ immediate focus is on training for what will be a marathon-like effort. His personal goal is to finish the swim in less than 5 ½ hours.
“I’ve always grown up as a swimmer and done a few ocean swims but the furthest I have competed is four kilometres,” Cutts said.
“I do the bulk of my training in the pool – there’s a really good clock for pacing at Ballarat Lifestyle and Aquatic Centre.”
Laps build up his swim stroke, but Cutts also ties to build as much open water fitness as he can, including in race conditions, when he can to ensure he will be as ready as possible.
Rottnest Channel Swim is on February 25.
To support Cutts, or for more details about his swim, visit everydayhero.com.au and search ‘stroking for stroke’.