A Vancouver man is planning to swim from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island and back on Saturday, an expedition he says was inspired by his father who was diagnosed with a severe form of arthritis.
Jeremy Davidson, 32, intends to dive into the choppy waters of the Northumberland Strait to raise money and awareness for the Neil Squire Society, a non-profit organization that helps people with disabilities return to the workforce.
"I'm very grateful to be able to do something for someone else and to be able to help," said Davidson, a Canadian Forces member currently stationed at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown in New Brunswick.
"This makes it all that much more real."
Davidson's father Daniel, who helped organize the fundraising event from his home in British Columbia, said he is proud.
"You couldn't ask for a better role model in any community and we're completely thrilled with everything he's done."
The Neil Squire Society has operated across Canada for 30 years and uses assistive technology to empower people with disabilities, with a focus on employment.
"The Neil Squire Society has helped me to accept and develop my disability," said Davidson's father.
"They've given me a little bit of hope where there wasn't a whole lot of hope a few short months ago."
Davidson plans to begin in Cape Jourimain in New Brunswick and swim along the Confederation Bridge, a 12.9-kilometre span, to Borden-Carleton, P.E.I.
Despite being an Ironman triathlete, Davidson says it will be his longest one-day swim. He has crossed the strait four times this summer and swims between 20 and 40 kilometres per week.
He estimated it will take between 14 and 17 hours, with at least one safety kayak with him at all times.
"Water temperature can be a concern because I'm going to attempt to do it without a wetsuit on the way there," he added. "Then if I can continue on the way back without a wetsuit I'm going to do that."
While swimming across the Northumberland Strait is not an uncommon feat, there are few recorded double-crossings. In 2007, marathon swimmer Jen Alexander made the return trip in just under 19 hours.
Davidson said the swim is a trial run for a bigger event planned for the following year: swimming from New Brunswick to P.E.I. and then to Nova Scotia.
"That's the real target," said Davidson.