Littlehampton father honoured by son’s extreme challenges for St Barnabas House

A Littlehampton man who was supported by St Barnabas House is being honoured by his son, who is taking on endurance challenges to raise money in his memory.

Andrzej Zyms, 44, originally from Poland and now living in Northampton, is taking on a series of extreme tasks in memory of his father, Wojciech Zyms.

Fresh off the back of his first major fundraising event, the National Three Peaks Challenge in October, Andrzej is celebrating after completing his second challenge, the Fan-Dance, on January 6.

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The Fan Dance is a gruelling 24.8km SAS selection weight bearing test march over Pen-Y-Fan, the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons.

Andrzej at the Fan Dance

Andrzej said: “I thought that the Three Peaks was hard but that was nothing compared to the Fan Dance. I think I can safely say that it is, physically and mentally, the hardest thing I have done.

“I went with the expectation of finishing within the seven-hour time limit, the SAS hopefuls have to complete it in less than four hours. In the end, I finished in five hours, one minute and four seconds.

“I wore my heart rate monitor and I was operating at more than 90 per cent of my maximum heart rate for two hours 15 minutes and the rest of the time I was sitting somewhere between 80 per cent and 90 per cent. I was in tatters by the end and had burned a total of 6,200 calories.”

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Wojciech with his niece, Lara, at his home in Littlehampton, 3 weeks before he lost his battle with cancer

Andrzej is currently gearing up for his biggest challenge of all, Everest Basecamp, departing from Lukla, Nepal on May 11, 2019.

The challenges are all raising money to support St Barnabas House which cared for his father, Wojciech, 72, during the later stages of his battle with cancer in 2012.

Wojciech and his family received care and support from the Hospice at Home team in Littlehampton.

Andrzej said: “Had it not been for St Barnabas, Dad may have had to spend his final weeks in a random, bleak hospital room. Heading for the unknown, surrounded by the unknown.

“St Barnabas arranged for him to have a hospital bed installed in the living room and all the other bits and bobs he needed to be comfortable.

“Nurses came in twice a day to care for him. It was difficult to watch and see. The man that was always my rock, the one I looked up to, was now pretty much helpless and incoherent a lot of the time due to the amount of morphine he needed just to keep the pain at a manageable level.

“I was able to spend time at Dad’s bedside, at his home, surrounded by the people and things he knew and loved.”

You can read more about Andrzej’s experience and follow his fundraising challenges at