Mt Barker’s Swim for Jim team embark on fundraising drive in a mission to find a cure for MND

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Jim Gilbert, front, with the Swim for Jim team in 2016.
Camera IconJim Gilbert, front, with the Swim for Jim team in 2016.

The Mt Barker family who created Swim for Jim to raise money for motor neurone disease research are about to embark on another drive for a cure.

While a cure will be too late for their beloved family member Jim Gilbert, who died of the disease in 2017, the Hambley family are on a mission to make sure fundraising continues despite the challenges of this year.

Next weekend, they will get involved in Drive for MND’s The Great Race.

Mr Gilbert was diagnosed with MND in 2014, and the Swim for Jim team are on a mission to raise $20,000 every year in a bid make sure no families have to go through what theirs did.

Jasmine Hambley, who is also on the Drive for MND committee, said after the initial shock of his diagnosis, her father called a family meeting and it was decided they needed to do something to help the cause.

“We knew we weren’t going to be able to help Jim, but we wanted to at least help future families,” she said.

“At the moment there is no cure, no way of slowing it down or treating it. We decided to do the virtual Rottnest Swim in the Mt Barker pool, and we spent nine months training.

“Originally the campaign was to raise $20,000 and do 20km for Jim, but we raised that in the first eight weeks.”

They did their first swim in February 2016 and handed over a whopping $187,000 cheque to MNDWA.

“Jim deteriorated further and it became our mission to continue to do it every year and make a difference,” Ms Hambley said.

“Jim was in everything and did everything, and then watching him not be able to do anything was horrible. When he passed away in February 2017, that spurred us on even more to continue.”

The Swim for Jim team have taken part in a Drive for MND fundraiser each year since 2016, but this year it looks a little different due to COVID-19.

This year they will do The Great Race on November 7, similar to the popular TV show The Amazing Race, embarking on a challenge around Perth.

Funds raised from the annual drive have gone towards the first MND research centre in WA at Murdoch University. The money also helps families who find themselves facing MND by providing wheelchairs and other items.

“We are hoping one day we can go on a drive where we are celebrating that we have a cure or a treatment or something,” Ms Hambley said.

To donate, visit the Swim for Jim Facebook page.

Mt Barker's Greg Hambley and daughters Jasmine and Sophie ready to Swim for Jim in 2015.
Camera IconMt Barker's Greg Hambley and daughters Jasmine and Sophie ready to Swim for Jim in 2015. Credit: Laurie Benson

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails