On July 21, 16-year old Cooper Sever will attempt to swim for 24-hours and 30 miles as a fundraiser in honor of his uncle Chris Wooten.
Wooten, a North Carolina State Trooper, was hit while riding on his motorcycle on July 22, 2019. The impact caused him to be thrown from the vehicle, which resulted in a life-threatening spinal cord injury. Wooten fought through the situation and was eventually transported to Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA., where he would spend more than six months recovering.
In order to honor Wooten, Sever, a competitive swimmer from Salisbury, North Carolina has decided to take on the 24-hour swim and turn it into a fundraising event. The event will be held at Eaman Park Pool in Salisbury beginning at 6pm on July 21 and ending a day later on July 22 at 6pm. His ultimate goals for the event include swimming 30 miles and raising $30,000, with online donations already occurring.
During the event, Sever will swim in 30 minute increments, with the goal of hitting 1.25 miles per cycle. Between increments, he will take time to rehydrate and rest.
All money raised during the event will go towards The Shepherd Center Patient Assistance Fund, which provides assistance to patients suffering from spinal cord injuries by helping pay for medical expenses like prescriptions and other medications.
In order to prepare for the swim, Sever is currently training 3 times a week with two 4-5 hour sessions and one 7-hour session. “We’ve been doing a lot of training, but there is no amount of training that can help me prepare for this mentally,” Sever said.
However, he is looking to his uncle’s strength to help him get through the swim, “We’ve always had that connection, I remember growing up and throwing a football around in the yard with him. That’s never going to change, it will always be the same.”