Mum “saved” by wild swimming as son and husband face serious illness


A SCOTS mum-of-four has claimed that wild swimming “saved” her after her son and husband both faced life threatening illnesses. 

Claire Morris took up the new hobby last year to help cope whilst her son Jax, 5, was in hospital and complications from a stem cell transplant left him physically disabled.

After struggling mentally during her son’s illness, the 46-year-old’s husband, Jacques Morris, was later diagnosed with stage four stomach cancer last month.

Claire and Michaela in sea - Scottish News
Claire swims with her daughter-in-law Michaela.                                                                                       (C) Claire Morris

After she “couldn’t cope” with the stress, Claire, from North Ayrshire, turned to wild swimming to help relieve the strain on her mental health.

Claire now praises wild swimming with her daughter-in-law, Michaela Favrich, and insists that it helped “save” her mental health during this extremely difficult time.

Jacques, 41, has today undergone his second session of chemotherapy with the family anxiously awaiting whether the tumor will shrink under the treatment,

Jax first underwent the stem cell transplant to help strengthen his immune system, but tragic complications led to Autoimmune Encephalitis.

Autoimmune Encephalitis is a condition where the body’s immune system attacks the brain, leaving Jax unable to eat or swallow, and with no hand-eye coordination. 

Claire posted her story to Facebook earlier this month, writing: “Saturday morning I woke up in tears, life is just overwhelming at the moment. 

“My hubby started chemo yesterday after being diagnosed four weeks ago with stage four stomach cancer and I have a five year old who has been left physically disabled after complications from a stem cell transplant. 

Claire and Michaela waterfall - Scottish News
The two have swam in lochs, waterfalls and the sea.                                                                                 (C) Claire Morris

“Wild swimming saved me and my mental health. The healing power of water and wild swimming is truly remarkable. 

“This week I tackled the Campsie Falls to recharge my batteries.”

The post now has over 1,800 likes, with hundreds of people commenting in support of Claire. 

 Rachael Taylor said: “Oh that sounds horrendous. I’m glad you have found something to help you”. 

Morag Drummond commented: “I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through so much. 

“You are amazing and it’s fabulous you’ve found peace in swimming, sending love”. 

Clare Dunbar replied: “I’m so glad you found an outlet during all of this. 

“Life is certainly throwing curveballs at you. I hope you continue to find joy and peace in this.”

Celine Toulouze-Motion added: “You are so brave! Big hugs for you and your family, all the love in the world!”

Speaking today (FRI), Claire said: “Jax had been really ill for four months, his hand-eye coordination was gone, his swallowing was gone.

“Then he had a seizure over Christmas, and high blood pressure. 

“Initially it was thought to be a brain puncture but I did loads of research and I suggested it might be Autoimmune Encephalitis. 

Jacques and Jax - Scottish News
Jacques and Jax have both fallen seriously ill.                                                                                           (C) Claire Morris

“I told the doctors and they eventually said that was what he had. 

“He’s started plasma exchange therapy and he’s improving every day. 

“He talks again and smiles all the time.

“I don’t know if he’ll ever make a full recovery, it could take up to two years. 

“And then Jacques was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and he’s borderline, they’re hoping chemotherapy will shrink the tumor.

“A couple of months ago I was going mad, and I just couldn’t cope. 

“I started wild swimming and it saved my mental health.

“We’ve been waterfall chasing, in lochs and in the sea. 

“Wild Sea Women have been really supportive of Jax, they’re fundraising for him in October. 

“He was an outdoor child, he loves the beach. 

“I’m hoping to get Jax home by October, and I want to get him in the water.”