Inspirational Swim: Blind Man Bravely Navigates Georgia Strait in 11 Hours, Fundraising for Guide Dogs

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Imagine this: A blind guy from B.C. takes on an epic 11-hour swim from Sechelt to Nanaimo. Yep, you read that right. Scott Rees, a 39-year-old superhero, raised over $120,000 to help folks who need guide dogs.

blind guy swims for dogs

So, picture this scene: Scott pulls up to Pipers Lagoon in Nanaimo, and he’s welcomed by a bunch of cheering friends, family, and supporters.

The guy is a legend!

He said those cheers were like fuel for the last couple of hundred meters.

Just under 11 hours of swimming – he beat his own goal of doing it in under 12.

Scott admitted he felt pretty “banged up” but was super happy to be back on solid ground.

And get this, as of Monday, he’d raised $124,401 for the Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind.

This money will help visually impaired people get the guide dogs they need.

at the finish line

Now, Scott’s story gets even more touching.

He has retinitis pigmentosa, which means he’s lost all functional sight.

Two years ago, his life changed when he got his yellow lab, Kaleb, from the guide dog organization.

Kaleb’s his sidekick, helping him navigate sidewalks without bumping into things or people.

Scott says Kaleb gave him back his independence.

When Scott finally arrived at the beach, his wife, Alexandra MacCarthy, was there, tears and all.

She said, “Mostly just pride. Everyone’s feeling really inspired by him and really proud of all his accomplishments.”

The support Scott had during his swim was incredible.

dad joined in

Four-time Paralympic swimmer Donovan Tildesley joined him for the first hour and then followed along by boat. Donovan, who’s been blind his whole life, was super moved by Scott’s determination.

He said, “I think he’s given all of us a real gift, showing what can be done as a blind person.”

For Donovan, spending that Sunday helping Scott was time well spent.

And it wasn’t just Donovan. Scott’s friend, Joost Van Woerden, was right there too, paddling alongside in a kayak and guiding Scott through the tricky waters of the Georgia Strait.

Joost said Scott had a strong start, hit some rough patches with currents and fatigue in the middle, but powered through the last three hours like a champ.

Joost mentioned that the swim took a ton of planning – picking the perfect day with the right tides and weather. “It was a big day. A little emotional for the whole team, I think. We’ve seen him train really hard for this,” he said.

So there you have it. Scott Rees isn’t just a guy who loves swimming.

He’s an inspiration, showing us all what’s possible with determination, support, and a lot of heart.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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