At just ten years old, Ethan Evans has already battled serious illnesses and injuries. When he was just one year old, he developed life threatening septicaemia and spent ten days fighting for his life in hospital. He battled through and made a recovery, only to be hospitalised again when he experienced a violent reaction to the MMR vaccination, and only recovered, according to his granddad, Edwin Green, though "sheer fighting spirit".
At four years of age, Ethan developed the serious breathing condition, croup, and was once again taken to hospital…"He seemed to have more illnesses than most people have in a lifetime" recalls Edwin.
If Ethan's life hadn't been hard enough, two years ago he was knocked over by a car on Langworthy Road as he left school, and was seriously injured. After undergoing extensive surgery for his multiple injuries and beginning long-term physiotherapy, Ethan was devastated when he was told that he wouldn't be able to play his much-loved football again. His physiotherapist recommended swimming to aid recovery and, Edwin says "He took to it like a duck to water".
At his first race Ethan won three silver medals and now swims for Salford and Worsley. He's also used his new found talent to help others, including a swim for his school, Willow Tree in Langworthy, earlier this year which raised £500 for sports equipment. Now, Ethan faces his biggest sporting challenge yet and is determined to complete a 1.5 mile swim to raise £10,000 for the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital cancer unit in February next year.
Ethan chose this cause because he knows a young Salford boy who is undergoing treatment for cancer at the hospital and all money raised will go to Ward 84.
Meanwhile, Ethan dreams of qualifying for the 2024 Olympics. And describing him as "remarkable", granddad Edwin decides "If I was a betting man I would not bet against him achieving his dream."
Ethan, whose heroes are Olympic swimmers Michael Phelps and Michael Rock, has been training hard in the hope of achieving his charity goal. And with five months to go to the big swim, Ethan and Edwin, who is helping with the fundraising, are urging everyone to help meet the £10,000 challenge for Manchester Children's Hospital cancer unit...
"Ethan never asks for anything in return for everything he does and I am so very proud of what he will achieve in the coming months and years" says Edwin "I am sure the great city of Salford will think the same..."
You can donate to his appeal by visiting http://www.justgiving.com/ETHAN-EVANS
Words by Natasha Bolton