A Nanaimo teen is reaching his 200th day of jumping into the ocean, rain, snow or shine, in an effort to raise money to support people who suffer from eating disorders.
Clay Johnson, 16, who’s struggled with disordered eating himself, started his Swim to Eat campaign on Sept. 4 with hopes of reaching $5,000 in donations throughout the year.
The idea to jump in the water every day for a year was inspired by the lyric “swim with me, get to someplace better” from the song Swim, by Valley, which “really stuck” with Johnson.
“The campaign has two faces, it’s bringing awareness to the cause of eating disorders, and there are so many people having issues, not knowing where to get support, or how to talk about it,” he said. “Also there’s the fundraising side so we can now help and support organizations that are doing great work.”
Swim to Eat has garnered lots of support from the community, and Johnson had the opportunity to talk to friends and family of those who’ve endured eating disorders, and others who have suffered from disordered eating.
“[There’s a] number of people I’ve talked to who are really happy [with the campaign], because they know someone who’s struggled with disordered eating,” he said.
Johnson has raised $1,105 so far, which is being donated to the Looking Glass Foundation for Eating Disorders. He chose Looking Glass because of the range of services they provide, including counselling, peer support, recovery, and a live-in place for people recovering from eating disorders.
So far, he has only missed one day of swimming. Even during the coldest days of winter, Johnson was jumping into the ocean, however, he’s adapting to the freezing water.
“Once you get used to the cold and being submerged, it doesn’t have the same shock,” he said.
Over the summer, Johnson plans on holding a public fundraising event at Departure Bay for members of the community to connect, donate, and jump in with him to further bring awareness to the cause.Follow @Baileyseymour02