Parkin, who was born deaf, aims to raise money for the Deaf Children’s Learn to Swim and Water Safety Programme. Parkin celebrated the start of his journey on 5 February with a send-off from the St Vincent School for the Deaf in Rosebank.
Ingrid Parkin, the principal of St Vincent School for the Deaf and Terence’s wife, said, “It was incredibly inspiring for our learners to have the opportunity to be with Terence at the start. Terence is well acquainted with St Vincent School as he has worked for the school for two years before teaching swimming. One hundred per cent of our learners from the age of two to 22 can now all swim, all 360 of them.”
“Terence is passionate about the foundation’s goals with regards to reducing national and worldwide drowning statistics. He has personally saved seven people from drowning so it is close to his heart,” said Ingrid.
He will cycle 735km over the next five days until he reaches Midmar Dam. Once he reaches the dam he will swim 13km. He will then run 30km from the Midmar Dam to the Natal Canoe Club. After he reaches the canoe club he will spend three days canoeing 124km until he reaches his final destination on 17 February.
His passion for advocating for young deaf athletes lead to him being named as an ambassador for Princess Charlene’s foundation. Now he travels the world giving talks on water safety and how to prevent drowning fatalities as well as teaching children how to swim.
“Swimming has been an incredibly positive influence in my life and I want children with hearing difficulties and other challenges to experience something similar. Who knows, there may be more Olympic medallists out there in SA that we can reach through this initiative,” said Terence.
Terence won a silver medal in the 200m breaststroke at the Olympic Games in 2000 and holds the record for most medals obtained (33) in the Deaflympics.
The initiative has been endorsed by Princess Charlene, who is also a former Olympic swimmer. Her foundation focuses on children by providing them access to sporting activities. The foundation also has a project which emphasises the importance of water safety.
“I want to help children in South Africa to reach their full potential and grow into healthy adults,” concluded Terence.
If you would like to donate to the cause or get involved you can contact Jenny Wentzel on [email protected] or 082 990 3578.
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