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What would you do to raise a pot of money to restore a loved one's health?

22 Aug 2014

Rowena Harding has chosen to fundraise for her friend’s multiple sclerosis treatment in the only way she knows how – suffering through sport!

Rowena competing in the ITU World Triathlon Cape Town in April 2014

Rowena, who is Communications Manager at the Brooks World Poverty Institute, found out that a primary school friend was desperately raising funds for his wife’s stem cell treatment to curb the advance of her MS.

On 31 August, Rowena will be raising funds for her treatment by competing in a middle distance triathlon (often called a half-Ironman) taking place in Yorkshire. The event involves a 1.2 mile swim (approximately the same distance from her office in Arthur Lewis to Victoria station, then a 52 mile ride (as if riding from the office to Chester) and finally a 13.1 mile run (the distance from the office to Tatton Park) – all which must be completed in under 8 hours. She’s been training 12 times a week, across six days a week for seven months, and has collected a sprained wrist, ankle and many a scraped knee in the process! She’s even had to train (and snuck in a cheeky competition) while overseas for work.

Rowena calls herself naturally unsporty and her school friend distinctly remembers her being picked last for every team. “I’ve always been lousy at school sports, and I didn’t do anything active from school till my mid-thirties – so this is completely unnatural to me,” said Rowena. “But I like the length of the event because I’ve got good endurance, a strong mind and a stubborn love of suffering! It’s easy to say it’s too hard to get out of bed or too cold to swim outside but that’s such a cop-out when I’m fundraising for someone who has no control over what their body is going to do on any given day. And because I’m directly fundraising for Jodi’s treatment, I really feel like we have a chance to give someone their life back.”

If you'd like to donate, you can do so online at:

You can follow Rowena’s progress at: