Getting into the swim for a great charity fundraiser

Gary Docherty with daughter Olivia (5), and Ruth with Katie (7) (Pic by Fife Photo Agency)
Gary Docherty with daughter Olivia (5), and Ruth with Katie (7) (Pic by Fife Photo Agency)

The Cardenden community has jumped feet first to help a local family’s swimathon for a charity which is offering them support through a difficult pregnancy.

Gary and Ruth Docherty were told 19 weeks in to Ruth’s term that their baby boy has a rare condition which is affecting the growth of his lungs.

Daughters Katie (7) and Olivia (5) who attend Denend Primary School, came up with the idea to hold a swimathon with their local swimming club, which has now captured the imagination of the local community.

Ruth (33) who is a childminder and now 27 weeks pregnant, said: “We went for our 19 week scan in Kirkcaldy. We were really excited when we found out it was a boy, but within minutes they asked my mother-in-law to take the girls out of the room.”

It was then that Ruth and Gary (37) were told that the baby boy has a condition called congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) where the diaphragm hasn’t formed properly, which in turn compromises his lung development. The couple have been told that he only has a 50 per cent chance of surviving.

“Basically a lot of his internal organs have slipped through the gap in his diaphragm which has given his lungs less room to grow,” Ruth said. “We had a horrible few weeks, but then we thought right, we need to do something here.

“The girls are members of Cardenden Swimming Club and they came up with the idea of doing a swimathon. We originally thought that we could get them to do 100m or something, but when I spoke to the coach, Dougie Baird, he said no, let’s get everyone involved.”

The challenge is now for the club members to swim 37km on Monday, June 26 – the length of Loch Ness – and Ruth says the response has been “amazing”.

“We set up a JustGiving page with a target of £500 for CDH UK as they have been an incredible help and it is also CDH Awareness Month. We’ve already gone well past that, plus people have given me money by hand too.

“I have good days and bad days but doing this fundraiser has helped me put my head into a positive place and keep myself busy.”

To donate go to