A SOLO fundraising swim by Attadale’s Harry Garland (25) has grown into a 64-member team helping car crash victim and former Claremont Football Club colt Warwick Proudlove in the 28th annual Rottnest Channel Swim from Cottesloe Beach next Saturday.
“It has just evolved into something really meaningful, because we’d all hope that if we were in a similar situation your mates would be there to help,” Mr Garland said.
In 2011, Mr Proudlove was 22 when the car in which he was travelling hit a horse near Mt Barker in the Great Southern.
The crash left him with head injuries and needing 24-hour care, before the former State government introduced no-fault insurance for drivers.
However, his family continues to find the money for his therapy and care.
Four years ago, Mr Garland, who played colts with Mr Proudlove, dedicate his solo swim to help the family during the annual 19.7km race to Rottnest Island.
Mr Garland said his subsequent annually-organised Swim for Proudie now had its own community of friends, and repeat and new swimmers who had raised about $100,000 for their mate in the past four years
“Warwick was one of my best high school friends, and we’re close to the family, and we want to do anything we can to help,” team member Tessa Maroni (24) said
Despite continuing brain injury, Mr Proudlove has shown he can comprehend and recently started blinking to communicate.
This year, the team of 24 swimmers and 40 support staff is aiming to fund a much-needed stand-up bed.
The race with about 2500 swimmers will have a record 396 solo entrants when the first swimmers start at 5.45am from Cottesloe Beach on February 24.
To donate to Swim for Proudie go to www.rottnestchannelswim18.everydayhero.com/au/swim-for-proudie-2018.