Inspiring the fight against stress in our Rock 2 recovery’s mission is “to save and change the lives of those in our Armed Forces, our Veteran Community, the Emergency Services and their families who are affected by stress. Our purpose is to inspire and coach towards a more positive future.”
R2R was originally started to serve military and veteran communities. Having been able to make such a big impact within those groups, they decided to extend their valuable resources to the emergency services after seeing how much they are impacted by stress and mental health challenges.
The European Parkinson’s Disease Association (EPDA) is the only European Parkinson’s umbrella organisation. They have been championing and working with the global Parkinson’s community for nearly 30 years.
As the leading voice for Parkinson’s in Europe, they provide information and resources to all Parkinson’s stakeholders, raise awareness of the disease’s complexities and impact, and advocate for concrete policy change that benefits the Parkinson’s community. Their vision is to enable all people with Parkinson’s to live a full life, while supporting the search for a cure.
In March 2022, a crew of three will set off from Lanzarote to row the 3,200 mile wide expanse of Atlantic ocean between the Canary Islands and Antigua. With no support boat and no chance to stop or change their minds, the crew will have to use their experience and resilience to not only survive, but thrive, for roughly 50 days.
Every possible scenario is planned for in advance, from spare oars, life rafts, tools for repairs, medical supplies, if they can squeeze it in to the 29ft long 6ft wide boat they will, just in case. Since kit takes up valuable space, the crew’s living quarters will be confined to the rear cabin. Measuring in narrower than a double bed and with barely enough head height to sit up straight, this is what previous rowers have named “the coffin”. When they’re not on deck rowing this will be the place they do everything, sleep, eat, wash, tend to any injuries, route/weather planning, not to mention give themselves a pep talk when inevitably things feel too hard or too relentless.
All of that in a 2 hour window before heading out on the oars again for their next 2 hour shift, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for as long as it takes. Then as if that didn’t feel claustrophobic enough, in very rough weather when it’s not safe to be on deck, the three crew members will lock themselves in the cabin together and ride out the storm. Imagine a tin of sardines!
Billy started ocean rowing challenges in 2014 after finding out his childhood friend had been diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease. He has rowed across the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans, the Mediterranean and the English channel, all of which have been used to raise awareness of Parkinson’s Disease and mental health charities.
Rachel has over 14 years experience working for the ambulance service and is an NHS Paramedic. She has spent the last few years travelling as much as possible to visit 30 countries before turning 30 and in her spare time she enjoys lots of hobbies including paddleboarding, kayaking and swimming.
After acquiring an old wooden boat that was an exhibit in Swansea maritime museum and totally rebuilding it, John successfully rowed across the Atlantic Ocean in 2011 as one of a pair. He has two teenage children and believes the most important role in life is being the best dad that he can be and hopefully inspiring them and others.
So why is rowing the Atlantic often referred to as the “World’s toughest row”?
It could be something to do with the huge Atlantic storms, merlins piercing the boat with their long sword-like heads, extreme fatigue, weight loss, horrendously calloused hands, sores and boils on the worst imaginable parts of your body, dehydrated meals and not a moment’s privacy for 50 days.
All this while constantly bobbing around on waves as tall as houses and trying to row through them day or night, sunshine or showers. More people have ventured into space than have rowed the Atlantic ocean, by now you can surely see why! And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the toilet is a bog standard (literally) bucket on deck.
The C-MAP Atlantic Dash is supported by:
Active research projects
Oxford Brookes research
All crew members will record data throughout the crossing using an app designed by Oxford Brookes. Twice a day they will complete a short survey about how they’re feeling and the external factors that may impact that, such as sea conditions, contact with home, progress. Data gathered will support research into the effects of exercise, diet and sleep patterns on general mental health and wellbeing of crew members, particularly John, who has a diagnosis of PTSD. The information collated will better understanding of how sports and exercise can influence mental health.
Such as times of day to exercise, how much exercise is good, how external factors affect our outlook, motivation and ultimately mental health. Collecting the data will also help to see how long term exercise and diet regime affect mental health.
We will attach a mini-secchi disk provided by the Plymouth marine laboratory. This will measure the clarity of the water, and be colour-coded to test for the PH acidity mainly around coastal areas. Photos on a pre-determined time schedule will capture photos of plastics on the surface, so researchers can identify the quantity and types of plastics. This data allows them to build an algorithm which will be an off the shelf product available to attach to boats and automatically collect data to improve the information being gathered on plastics polluting our oceans.
We have teamed up with Learn live UK an education platform used by 3,000 schools in the UK. It is a free service for schools to sign up to with a wide range of content. We aim to have weekly contact with both primary and secondary schools, where we will talk directly into the classrooms to answer questions and talk about marine life, plastic pollution and geography, in the hope of inspiring the next generation of explorers.
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