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Ruairi’s Swim to Recovery Challenge
Blog 1 – Sunday November 25th, 2018

‘How do you write a blog?’

That was my first thought when asked to do a blog about my recovery, training and the fundraising which is currently taking place. So, I did what any rational person would do, I Googled it. According to Google my blog should satisfy the following criteria; be funny, engaging, dynamic and thought provoking. No pressure then! The second article I read said that the most important thing is to just be yourself which is a bit more realistic. The writing of this blog is giving me flashbacks to doing English essays for my leaving Cert except the internet isn’t as helpful with a blog post as it is with a poetry essay.

So, my story.

My name is Ruairí Aspell. I’m a 20 year old student. While on holidays in Budapest in August, I suffered a brain haemorrhage. Luckily, I was in the company of my friend who is a member of the Order of Malta. He recognised the severity of the situation and took swift action (I think it’s only fair that he won’t have to buy himself a pint any time I’m around!). The neurosurgical hospital in Hungary was of an excellent standard where I had an operation to stop the bleeding and spent almost three weeks recovering from surgery. I have placed my studies on hold whilst my rehabilitation continues, I’m focused on making a 100% recovery. Although my Dad maintains that I was only ever 95% before I got sick. There’s no room for a swollen head in this family, which is probably no harm. Not again anyway.


I was shocked by the good will of people once I was well enough to go back on my phone, it nearly hopped of the table when I turned it back on. Everyone from family, friends and work/school colleagues were wishing me well and sending supportive messages. This was trumped once I arrived home, everyone was calling in for tea with biscuits and cakes in their hand. I wouldn’t say my Mam had to cook dinner in the house for about two weeks with the amount of lasagne and chicken curry coming in through the door. It was brilliant, the only side effect was that I had easily put back on the stone I lost in Budapest on the double. The common theme of any visit or text was always if you need anything at all don’t hesitate to contact them. I’m very lucky that I needed very little from most people apart from the odd lift to a football match or into town. However, others are not so fortunate which is why I have decided to raise funds to those who are more in need of that helping hand.

As a result of my experience, I would like to raise money for charity, the plan being to divide all funds raised between the hospital in Hungary where I was treated, the local Order of Malta (Athlone area) and SCTNI (Stroke Clinical Trial Network Ireland) which is researching into the prevention and treatments of Stroke through clinical trials.

The main fundraising event will take place in Athlone Regional Sports Centre where I work as a Swim Teacher. The name of the event is ‘Ruairi’s Swim to Recovery Challenge’ and it will take place 10 weeks from today on Sunday February 3rd.   For me that challenge is a 10km swim which is considered the marathon of swimming but the event is open to lane swimmers of every ability.  The swim can be done as part of a team or as a solo effort, no matter what your goal is there’s a challenge right for you. So you decide yourself what is a realistic but challenging target….whether it’s 2k, 3k, 5k or the full 10k…..but please join in!

The Lane Coach team at Athlone RSC have prepared a 10 week training programme for me and everyone else who sign up so there’s loads of help and advice available and now is the time to get started.

That’s the end of my first blog post. You’ve definitely made it further than my English teacher did through my plagiarised work albeit with less red pen corrections. The blog will be going out weekly. It will be based on the training and fundraising taking place with the odd story thrown in about my recovery and how I’m progressing.


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