Mark?s stamina test for Stokers

By TONY WHITE twhite@dailyexaminer.com.au

LOCAL triathlete Mark Symons has never met Brushgrove's Stoker family.

However, like many people in our community, Symons was touched by the family's plight.

Three years ago Mark Stoker was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Sadly, he passed away on Wednesday. This year, his wife Cindy was also diagnosed with a brain tumour and has been given a limited time to survive.

The Stoker's have four children ranging in age from six to 14.

In a heart-warming bid to help raise funds for the Stoker Family Appeal, this Sunday 41-year-old Symons will put his body through hell attempting an arduous 9km swim from end to end of Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra.

While a fit man, competing in the National Capital Swim over such a long distance, with water temperature expected to be around 16 degrees, remains unchartered territory for the One North, One Inound Sales consultant.

He expects to complete the journey in approximately three and a half hours.

"I've got no association with the Stoker family, I've never met them, but my heart goes out to the whole family," Symons said.

"The only thing I know about them is from what I've read in The Daily Examiner.

"I'd seen this race (National Capital Swim) advertised and thought I might as well try and raise some money for them while I'm doing it. It seemed a nice thing to try and do.

"I've never swum further than 3.8 kilometres in competition, but I figured if I'm going to suffer it would be nice for someone to get some benefit out of it.

"I'll be tipping in some money of my own and the guys at work and members of Grafton Golf Club have been kind enough to chip in with sponsorship and hopefully we can get a bit more before Sunday."

Symons has been training in the Clarence River since August.

He's been swimming six days and around 20km a week to be prepared for the challenge.

"The river's been pretty balmy around 22 or 23 degrees," Symons said.

"It's going to be a lot colder in Canberra and that's my biggest fear."

Anyone interested in supporting Symons swim for the Stoker Family Appeal can contact Westlawn Finance.



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