Charity mum tells how island swim for Parkinson’s-victim dad almost killed her

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AN Australian mother-of-three has spoken about how trying to raise £3,000 for charity almost killed her.

Anna Brotherson decided to swim to Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth to raise the money for Parkinson’s Western Australia after her father was diagnosed with the disease.

Anna had swum almost 20 kilometers and was almost at the island – famous for its wildlife – when she had difficulty breathing.

The 43-year-old had been in the ocean for eight hours when her husband, Kim, became worried about her and told her to stop. At almost the same time, Anna passed out and was in danger of drowning.

Anna had apparently suffered a pulmonary oedema which happens when the lungs suddenly fill with fluid.

She was pulled on board the support boat before Fremantle Sea Rescue arrived.

“I was close to the wind. A respiratory specialist told me later that I was minutes from death,” Anna said. “But it was just my psyche not to stop. Everyone told me you have to dig deep, especially between 17 and 19km, and just keep swimming.

“Those who don’t quit, make it. So in my mind I thought, ‘I’m not cold, I don’t have hypothermia, I’m not going to quit, I’m going to make it’.”

When she finally regained consciousness after 45 minutes at the emergency department, Anna wondered what all the fuss was about.

“I knew it had gone south but I didn’t realise the severity of the situation. I just thought I was in emergency to be monitored,” Anna said as she recovered at home.

Anna urged others to make themselves aware of the risks of pulmonary oedema.

Having raised $21,500 for Parkinson’s WA, Anna said she would consider competing in the Rotto swim again, most likely as part of a team or duo.

Rottnest is perhaps best-known for its population of quokkas, a small native marsupial found in very few other locations.

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