Swimming across the Strait of Gibraltar in support of research at IRB Barcelona

Carlos Romero will participate in the "Batalla de Rande"
Carlos Romero will participate in the "Batalla de Rande"

On Tuesday 22 September, Carlos Romero, a 44-year old from Sant Esteve Sesrovires, Barcelona, will swim across the Strait of Gibraltar in support of IRB Barcelona’s Oncology Programme.

In April, he launched the campaign Nadar contra corriente (Swim against the current) to raise awareness of the project, which is backed by supporters, companies and businesses in the area.

On Tuesday 22 September, Carlos Romero, a 44-year-old telecom engineer from Sant Esteve Sesrovires, Barcelona, ​​will swim across the Strait of Gibraltar in support of cancer and metastasis investigation performed at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona). His fundraising challenge started five months ago with the launch of the project Nadar contra corriente (Swim against the current), through which he has collected almost 4,500 € from supporters, companies and businesses in the Baix Llobregat area.

 "Through this project I want to make a contribution to the anonymous work of scientists who are working to benefit society at large," says Carlos, who travelled to Tarifa on Sunday in preparation for jumping into the sea on Tuesday. He aims to swim the 14.4 km that separate Europe from Africa. "Because of the strong currents, this means swimming about 17 km, which corresponds to 12,250 supporting strokes," he explains.

During the five-month campaign, the “Nadar contra corriente” team has participated in fetes to raise awareness of the initiative and has organised a butifarrada (a traditional Catalan BBQ), a charity swim in a local pool, and a fund-raising party—all these events backed by the inhabitants of the town, the Town Council, and local associations. He has also managed to get various companies and collaborators to back the initiative through the donation of funds or through activities in favour of the campaign.

A family history marked by cancer

A personal experience motivated Carlos to start this charity initiative. "My father died from lung cancer when I was 24. Going through an experience like that when you are young marks you for life. In my case, it changed the way I understand life and live life and also my priorities," he explains. A swimming enthusiast, Carlos had been considering the idea of swimming the Strait of Gibraltar for some time and linking the challenge with raising funds for charity. "IRB Barcelona struck me as an ideal centre to which to donate the funds raised," he says.

Carlos Romero’s initiative is one of many examples of public support of the centre, "a growing trend of great value because it shows that the general public is committed to science. I am most grateful for Carlos’ effort and this gratitude is extended to all those who support us in our mission. Their support makes us stronger," says Joan Guinovart, director of IRB Barcelona.

To date, fewer than 700 people have managed to swim across this expanse of water, a figure five times smaller than the number of mountaineers who have climbed Everest. The website www.nedarcontracorrent.org provides more information about the project and live progress reports will be given through social networks via the tag #ElRetoNCC.