Last March saw Peter Dempsey absolutely determined to finish the open water swimming race named for his injured son.
One year on and while the Dempsey family has come so far, Mr Dempsey – who later joked organisers had been packing up the course behind him – won’t have to swim quite the same distance this time.
The second annual Dip 4 Dempsey at Lake Hume on Friday evening, March 9, will offer open two kilometre and junior 500 metre races as well as another open event of 500m.
“For the guys that haven’t swum as much and I believe Pete Dempsey’s going to make a special effort for that swim, so that’s going to be interesting,” organising committee member Peter Copley said with a grin.
Money raised from the night will go towards the ongoing rehabilitation of Nick Dempsey, diagnosed with C4 quadriplegia after a diving accident last year.
Nick is looking forward to watching this year’s swim, having been still receiving treatment in Melbourne during the inaugural occasion.
Last year about 140 swimmers took part, with the night raising more than $10,000.
Reflecting on this while visiting the Thurgoona house being built as another major fundraiser, Nick said the support he continued to receive was “extremely humbling”.
“You don’t realise how good a community it is until something happens like this,” he said.
“Even talking to people when I was still down in Melbourne about what their friends and family and community are doing for them, it doesn’t even come close to what everyone around here’s done for me.”
Mr Copley hoped the Dip 4 Dempsey would raise even more in its second year, with organisers also wishing for less choppy conditions.
Nick’s Journey committee chairman Leanne Luhrs said the fundraiser had been a great idea to help the former water polo player.
“He was so much into swimming anyway, so it was the perfect combination,” she said.
“And on top of that I think it’s a really good event for the area, it’s something a bit different that we haven’t had before.”
Nick is building his strength in a manual wheelchair and has also just started studying building design.
“Obviously it takes a lot longer to do anything now than what it would before so I’m still trying to figure out the best way to fit it in with still being able to do as much therapy as I’d like to,” he said.
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