Two personal trainers who were both sick during their childhoods are staging the ultimate gesture to give back to the hospitals that treated them – by rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic in a tiny-two man boat.
Robert Strachan, 26, and Duncan Brown, 34, both from Aberdeen, have conquered their health problems and are now set to be the only Scots to take part in this year’s Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
Team “Rowing for Rascals” hope to raise £100,000 on their mission for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London and the Children’s Hospital in Aberdeen - now supported by the ARCHIE foundation.
They will leave La Gomera in the Canary Islands later this month and arrive at the to the Island of Antigue in the Caribbean anywhere between 40 and 90 days later, depending on the conditions.
Robert chose to raise money for the ARCHIE foundation as he spent much of his childhood in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary suffering from various recurring respiratory problems including pneumonia, whooping cough and asthma.
Thanks to the work of the hospital, he is now able to take on the immense challenge, with his lungs fit to help power him over the ocean.
Duncan has chosen Great Ormond Street Hospital to benefit from his efforts.
For most of his childhood until the age of 13, Duncan suffered from epilepsy and amnesia due to brain damage caused at birth.
For a few years he was also partially paralysed, with only limited control of his right side.
As he grew up and his brain developed and with the help and care he received at the hospital, the paralysis was overcome and the epilepsy faded.
Due to his amnesia, Duncan was told he wouldn’t pass any exams but undeterred he went on to achieve a degree and is now self -employed.
He sees the trans-Atlantic row as the next challenge he needs to conquer.
The pair, who are both personal training, have been preparing for the race since last year.
At its hardest point, it is expected they will be rowing 2 hours on, 2 hours off with the pair told to expect high winds and possibly even shark-infested waters.
The boat has a tiny cabin enough for one man to lie down and when one man sleeps, another will row.
It is expected they will burn approximately 10,000-12,000 calories every day and living only on dehydrated rations to keep their energy up.
Organisers said more people have been into space than have made it all the way across.
Usually around half of the vessels that set off do not make it due to injury, boat damage or simply not having the strength to continue.
Both men say this will be the challenge of their lives – with the only option but to succeed.
Not only do they want to finish the gruelling crossing, they want to be the first to do so.