Swimming makes a difference to Cystic Fibrosis patient

15 September 2017

Royal Life Saving Society WA wants to ensure all West Australian children have an opportunity to learn vital swimming and water safety skills through our Swim and Survive program. Unfortunately for some with special needs regular swimming lessons are simply not suitable.

We’ve recently partnered with Kwinana Requatic, a Royal Life Saving Endorsed Swim School, to make their SAIL (Specialised Access and Inclusion Lessons) available to more people who could benefit from it. SAIL is offered to people of all ages with an intellectual, physical or behavioural issue or impairment who need individual attention or reduced distraction from other swimmers. It teaches basic water safety skills for those with special needs, and those who might require extra help to gain confidence in the water.

With a subsidy provided by our Royal Life Saving Swim and Survive Fund, 34 students have taken part in the SAIL program this term, one of whom is Cassius Goncalves. Cassius suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, an inherited life-threatening disorder that damages the lungs and digestive system.

Cassius has been taking part in swimming lessons at Kwinana Requatic for 10 years, as part of the Swim and Survive and SAIL programs. Emma Lavery, Swim School Supervisor at Kwinana, says “Cassius’ family appreciates the funding Royal Life Saving gives our SAIL children, to help pay for 1 on 1 lessons for those with special needs as it makes it more affordable.”

The program has proven extremely positive for Cassius, who has been working on swimming in the 25m pool recently, and has received a medal for completing over 10kms, which is equivalent to swimming halfway to Rottnest!

Swimming is very beneficial for Cassius, as it is good for his lungs and respiratory system. Ms Lavery says receiving a medal for reaching the 10km distance is a great incentive. “Especially for the older children as it keeps them engaged in swimming, in particular Cassius due to the health benefits swimming provides him with.”

Royal Life Saving has recently begun a new partnership with Cystic Fibrosis WA, providing subsidized swimming lessons for children with CF. Kwinana Recquatic has also come on board to provide a 20% discount for children with Cystic Fibrosis when they enroll in their swim school.

According to Cystic Fibrosis WA, one in 25 Australians carry the Cystic Fibrosis gene, and one in every 2500 babies born in our country has CF.

Royal Life Saving would like to that Kwinana Requatic for its support in helping children with Cystic Fibrosis have access to Swim and Survive lessons, as we work together to break barriers to their participation. We look forward to hearing more stories from children like Cassius over the coming months.