Man successfully swam icy 7km river to raise awareness for Organ Donation

Transplant river

Peter Moore, 54 successfully swam an icy 7km river to help a fellow transplant candidate, even though he needs a transplant of his own.


Peter Moore is a hero! He was selected as the Good Things Guy SPAR Hero of the Week just last week because of his intention to swim 7km through the icy waters of the Sundays River. He successfully completed his swim in 4 hours and 15 minutes.

Peter did it because he met a young lady with cystic fibrosis and was inspired by her strength. Vanessa Neveling is at Groote Schuur Hospital where she is in a Lung Transplant Programme.

“She has been in the hospital a lot and there is a fund to help her cover her hospital expenses, I want to help her.”

His swim was to help Vanessa’s medical fund as well as raise awareness for Organ Donation in South Africa. His biggest fear was that he could get hypothermia, so he swam in a thick wetsuit to help out. Peter is a hero because he did all this while needing a lung transplant himself!

Due to his lung capacity, he did not use his legs while swimming as that would take up a lot of oxygen. These challenges did not hold him back from completing his goal.

“I have severe COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.) My lung function currently ranges between 18% and 24%.

24 years ago I ran into a room to close a Chlorine Gas cylinder that had been inadvertently opened. I did this so that the children in a play area could be timeously evacuated from the creche, which thankfully happened without any harm to any child.

At that time, being super fit, my intention was to hold my breath for the duration of time it would take me to run into the room, close the cylinder and get out. Unfortunately I could not hold my breath long enough and as a result, my lungs got burnt by the chlorine gas.”

Peter set his mind to it and started becoming more active. In the process, he lost 32kgs and pushed his body to take on challenges to promote organ donation. We asked Peter what it was like doing the swim.

“When I got into the water it was 15 degrees, wow, it was so cold it made my bones ache, and worse it pushed up my heart rate through the ceiling which affected my breathing very badly. I never once considered giving up…that’s just not in me.

The first 2 km were very tough getting my breathing under control and getting used to the cold. And then the next thing at about the 3 km the cramps started both legs… that was tough. From there on it went fine the last km I had to dig deep as I started getting very very cold and I just had to remind myself that I was doing this for Vanessa and other chronically ill people that can never give up… and what sort of message would I be sending if I gave up? In the Marines, we always had a saying in Afrikaans ‘Tot die Ent ‘ and in English…’To The End'”

Now he is working to raise the funds needed for his lung transplant. You can follow all of his progress and adventures on his “Just Breathe Marine” Facebook page.

Well done on completing the swim, Peter! To the End!

Sources: Facebook / BackaBuddy
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Tyler Vivier
Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy. Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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