BUILT, in his own words, “like a Brahman bull”, lifesaver Adin Parsons was used to jumping in the pool after six months of cold weather and swimming 20 laps.
Then one spring day in 2011, he could barely swim one. The Batemans Bay Swimming Centre stalwart blamed “old age” and made himself swim the four laps he needed to retain his certificate.
He knew he was anaemic, but there were other worrying signs. Over three months he went rapidly downhill.
“I went from being perfectly fit to not being able to walk up stairs. I would have to stop five times. My hands were white.”
The final straw was when the long-time blood donor failed the blood bank’s routine test.
“They said you have to see a doctor,” Mr Parsons said.
A diagnosis of an unpronounceable blood cancer (a near relative of leukaemia) followed and Mr Parsons and his wife Pam quickly found themselves on the Clyde Mountain merry-go-round known too well to chemotherapy patients.
Today, Mr Parsons is in grateful remission and determined to help others.
To be sacrificed on March 16 is his moustache and shock of white hair, all in aid of the Leukaemia Foundation.
“If I can raise $200 I will shave off my mo of 40 years,” he said.
But he’s thrown down the gauntlet to other hairy types to come along and let pool manager Christine McDonald (a hairdresser in another life) shave them too.
Mr Parson is seeking sponsors and hopes to raise “a lot more than $200”.
People can make donations at the pool or ring him on 4472 9896.
“I am so lucky,” he said.
Mr Parsons believes the Leukaemia Foundation’s funding for research has led to drugs such as the one that helped him get back to work.
“I do 20 laps most days,” he said.
A skin diver since childhood, he’s back in deeper water too.