Casey family to swim the length of Northern Beaches to beat cancer in their father’s memory

by Emma Brown 16 Sep 2020

Pictured from left to right, Ron Schroeder (paddler), the Casey siblings: Willis, James, Lana, Pascalle and their training buddy Chloe Wilcox.

The Casey family siblings are diving in to honour their father’s legacy by swimming 27km on 26 September to raise money for the Can Too Foundation to benefit cancer research.

The family of sporty siblings, including World Champion Paddleboarder James Casey, are transforming the tragedy of losing their father, Roger, to cancer, to a positive initiative by undertaking a marathon fundraising swim, as a Can Too Beyond program.

Lana Casey said that she and her siblings, James, Willis and Pascalle saw their father as superman who inspired their athletic pursuits. Pascalle is in the Australian water polo team, James is a professional paddleboarder, and she and her brother, Willis play a lot of sport. Lana competes in triathlon including XTERRA events inspired by her dad.

“He always pushed us to go a little harder, be a little better, swim out a little further or aim a little higher,” said Lana.

Sadly, Roger passed away at the age of 58 in May after a 14-month battle with a brain tumour. The triathlete competed in Ironman events for 10 years including in the World Championships in Kona.

Roger would often swim along Narrabeen and Mona Vale beaches to train for triathlons as well as surfing massive Southerly swells offshore.  

After watching the previously ultra-active person being unable to walk or communicate due to cancer, the Casey’s decided to swim 27km from Palm to Shelly Beach, along  the Northern Beaches where they grew up and had so many adventures with dad.

“We’ve never done anything like this before. We’re all swimmers, active and sporty, but swimming out to sea, particularly for my sister and I is pretty nerve wracking. I am petrified of the wildlife - that will be the biggest mental battle for me.

“Whilst we’re swimming, we feel that dad’s out there shepherding the sharks away.”

Her dad instilled in her to not be satisfied with what other people think is possible, to live outside those boundaries and to not be afraid.

The siblings originally planned the relay swim in March but it was postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions. On their dad’s birthday in August they did a test 11km swim from Palm Beach to Mona Vale which went swimmingly.

“People thought we were nuts with the cold - which we liked. It’s always good to be a bit on the outside.”

On the 26th they’ll be swimming in a relay on a rotating eight-minute cycle, supported with a boat captain and paddler.

Their goal is to raise $20,000 for cancer research through the Can Too Foundation. They have raised $15,000 so far. If they raise above $20k they’ll push the boat out to raise $27,000 a $1000 for each km they will swim as a team.

The Casey’s have a fundraising raffle with prizes ranging from a private Stand Up Paddle boarding lesson with World Champion James (pictured below), to a voucher for Waterfront Café at Church Point and prizes from their own family business Catfish athlete apparel.

Lana said that she chose Can Too as she loves that the Foundation encourages people to get outside their comfort zone and raise money for cancer research.

“I’ve found fundraising through dad’s illness a way to talk about it without being super negative and this awful thing is happening, but this is how you can help and there is hope.

“We thought dad would get through it, that if there was only one per cent chance, that would be him. We knew the funds we raised weren’t about fixing dad but if we can help to fund research to help another family not go through what we have, we’re so stoked that we can help with that.”

You can donate to Casey Kids Swim the Beaches here: https://www.cantoo.org.au/fundraisers/lanacasey/casey-kids-swim-the-beaches

 See the swimmers in action training for their marathon swim:

James Casey (further above right) pictured with his dad Roger Casey and Lana pictured above right also with their dad Roger. The siblings are swiming 27km in a relay in their dad Roger's honour.

You Can Too go Beyond 

You can choose your own challenge as a Can Too Beyond program.

Whether you are training for an Ironman, hosting a ball, teaching people a life-skill or any type of challenge you would like to conquer -- Can Too Beyond has all of the tools to help you maximise your fundraising journey.

Training with Can Too Beyond gives you all the infrastructure and support you need to reach your fundraising goals, but with the freedom to choose and pursue your own goal. Unlike the traditional Can Too program offering, there is no minimum fundraising requirement. All funds raised for the Can Too Foundation aids in supporting health promotion and early career cancer researchers.

Find out more: https://www.cantoo.org.au/can-too-beyond