Dublin man faces his fears and supports Czech families in distress

by Rose Barrett
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By Rose Barrett

Monday last saw Dublin man Alan Fitzsimons complete a 10km sea swim, a challenge he set himself to help traumatised families in several Czech villages recently hit by a tornado.

On Thursday, June 24 last, communities living in the south-eastern Breclav and Hodonin districts, in the Czech Republic, were hit by a freak tornado, and battered by showers of huge giant frozen hail stones.

At least five people are reported dead and hundreds injured, with buildings destroyed/swept away, cars and vehicles overturned and excessive damage done to fauna and trees. Fires too raged after the tornado attack.

Read more in this weeks Dublin Gazette out in stores now

Mr Fitzsimons who lives in Raheny with his wife and teenage daughter (“and two dogs”) is Marketing Manager for a company called we.trade, a secure digital platform that makes it easier for buyers and sellers to trade globally.

“I recently heard through one of our member bank’s clients about the horrible tornado hitting the south-eastern districts in the Czech Republic.

“From my perspective, I know how generous Irish people are naturally. So, to fundraise for families outside of Ireland was a great thing to do. I’m glad I’ve done it and I hope that people will generously support.

“I will leave the GoFundMe page open until July 17 and hopefully, it will reach my €3,000 target.”

Facing his fears

But for the Raheny business man, the fundraiser posed another challenge. A competent pool swimmer, Mr Fitzsimons feared open sea swimming.

“I previously had a fear of the open water but a friend of mine, Fiona, encouraged me to join her swimming at Portmarnock beach. For the past four months, I’ve been going to swim there and overcoming my fears.

“I initially challenged myself to swim one kilometre a day for this cause, and up until Monday, I was doing that but on Monday morning, I got up at 6am and did the remaining three kilometres in one swim!

“Covid was perhaps a lever to face my fear of the sea, as it was outdoors and therefore not in breach of the health and safety restrictions.

“But this is a major achievement for me, and I’m delighted that it will help those more vulnerable in the Czech Republic.

“So many have been left homeless and so many injured – if you can donate anything, however small, do so on my go fund page directly: gofundme.com/f/help-families-impacted-by-tornados-in-czech-rep

“I will then transfer the total amount in one go to the dedicated Czech fundraiser when I have reached my goal: www.darujme.cz/projekt/1204937?locale=en

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