Whilst many of us will be warm and snug, enjoying Christmas dinner and unwrapping presents, two courageous rowers have chosen to spend their Christmas rowing across one of the world’s great oceans, the Atlantic, all to help type 1 diabetes and leukaemia research.
The feat is being undertaken by two friends, Alex Bland and Harry Martin-Dreyer. Alex’s brother, Ross, has type 1 diabetes and Harry’s mother Alexandra recently lost the battle against her leukaemia.
The pair are currently 10 days into their challenge which started off from the Canary Islands, just off the north-western coast of Africa and will commence when they reach the Caribbean island of Barbados.
The Atlantic ocean is world’s second largest ocean and the route is treacherous, especially for a rowing vessel. The pair will face whatever weather the climate will throw at them and includes the threat of hurricanes. Sharks are another threat they’ll need to be wary of.
The two friends will need to have a high calorie diet of 5,000 to 6,000 calories per day to provide the energy needed to row through the rough seas. A desalinator is on board to turn ocean water into drinking water to keep the crew hydrated over the course.
The challenge has so far raised an incredible £127,000 of their £150,000 target which will be donated towards type 1 diabetes research and leukaemia research via the charities JDRF and Cure Leukaemia. People wishing to donate to the cause can visit the Rowing 4 Research website.

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