A YOUNG Olympic swimming hopeful from Salford who suffers with bouts of paralysis has raised more than £15,000 for charity.
13-year-old Ethan Evans has been affected by a sudden diagnosis of Hemiplegic Migraine Syndrome, which mimics a stroke, but has still managed to swim to success.
And his grandad Ed Green reckons he has the potential to compete at the Commonwealth Games and Olympics in 2022 and 2024 respectively.
Just two years ago, Ethan was the fastest Butterfly swimmer in the UK for his age and was also Lancashire County Champion in 2014-15, runner up in the North West Championships and came second in the National Arena League.
He isn’t just an award-winning swimmer, though. Ethan is a well-known charitable figure in the community and has used his talents in the water to raise money for five different charities – including the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital – by completing sponsored events.
His inspirational work earned him a Christmas Star Award from the BBC North West and he said ‘it’s probably my most prestigious award!’
The illness isn’t the first obstacle that Ethan has had to face. As a child he had Septicaemia, Croup and was the victim of a hit and run incident at the age of eight that left him needing surgery and long-term physiotherapy.
As Ethan said ‘I’m one of those kids that I’ll just catch anything’.
So how is he coping with his current illness? He’s optimistic: “I’ve always looked at it, that for every set back, there is a comeback.”
To anyone else, this illness would be life changing, but Ethan has admirably taken it in his stride.
“It did scare me, but when we found out what it was it was relieving.”
The illness can last for weeks but Ethan isn’t letting it get in the way of his swimming, charity work or academic achievements.
One of his most recent charity initiatives saw the Salford community gather jars of coins, the combined worth of which was £551.30.
These were all in small donations and Mr Green said: “I had people messaging me on Facebook, messaging Ethan, phoning us up and turning up at my door. I had to count it all!”
What is obvious, just from meeting Ethan, is that he cares deeply about people, his community and his city.
In return, his local community offered him 600 ‘get well’ messages whilst he recovered in hospital earlier this year.
They have asked his grandad, who is also well known for his charity work, to arrange a charity night just for Ethan to gather enough money to get him sports and swimming equipment – and maybe a little treat for him.
So far, 70 of the 150 tickets have been sold for the £3 event being held at the Royal British Legion Club on Langworthy Road on October 29.
It costs £5,000 a year to keep Ethan in the pool in travelling expenses, overnight stays and equipment.
Hopefully the evening will be a resounding success as Ethan swims his way towards the Olympics.
By: Abigail Frazer