Melanie 'rows the Thames' for our doctors

Current student, Melanie Stewart, was so moved by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of those working in our healthcare system that she decided to find a unique way to raise funds for doctors and their families who are in need.

“I am a first year A Level student studying Maths, Biology and Chemistry, I hope to study medicine at university.

What I enjoy most about The Henley College is the freedom, I can ask questions without being judged and our teachers encourage us to help each other when studying. 

When the government asked for volunteers at the start of the pandemic, I signed up. I wanted to do what I could to support those I was aspiring to join. However, I was told I was too young, that there was nothing I could do. 

I think that part of being a doctor is becoming the support system for others. I’ve been watching the news and reading through this pandemic and I’ve been particularly moved by the final year medical students who have been fast tracked through their qualifications and thrown into the deep-end.  I cannot imagine how dealing with the pandemic must be for experienced doctors, let alone those fresh from medical school. It is this that has inspired me to complete a fund raising challenge for the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund in support of those front-line doctors.

I am now rowing the length of the Thames from my garage. It is my intention that as I pass through places on it’s banks, I’ll be able to share with you their interesting stories. I have just completed my 9th length out of 29. So far I have rowed 108km, I have 238 km left to go. So far I have raised £421 and I am aiming to raise £1,000.  

I have found the row challenging, but greatly rewarding. I get to learn new and exciting things about the towns I ‘stop’ in and I have a lot of support from my family and friends. It’s fantastic for me, especially because it helps me train from home and gives goals of reaching places rather than just rowing for no reason.  I was honestly surprised when the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund actually contacted me to say thank you and that they wanted to post about my progress, I wasn’t expecting any recognition, I just wanted to do my part for those who are working so hard to protect the rest of us.”

If you would like to show your support for Melanie and donate to the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund, her fundraising page is:

You can also follow her journey here:

Instagram (@melrower)

Facebook (Mel Stewart)

Twitter (@Melanie_JS)

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