AMBASSADORS WITH HEARTS OF GOLD:
Here we acknowledge and thank our Childhood Cancer Ambassadors who have shown that they have Hearts of GOLD by their unsolicited, unselfish deeds in helping Little Fighters Cancer Trust do what we do! Who tirelessly give their time, efforts and very often money as well, to make the lives of our Little Fighters and their families better. These individuals use their sport to do fundraising and create much needed Childhood Cancer Awareness. All of us here at Little Fighters Cancer Trust believe that these souls deserve a special mention, as a sign of our deep appreciation and gratitude.
C A R I N A B R U W E R refers to herself as a Jack(ueline!) of all trades. She is a professional musician, a record breaking marathon swimmer, business owner, executive producer, artist manager, music promoter, charity supporter and (most importantly) a mother of two.
As the lead player and founder of the multiple award-winning instrumental pop group Sterling EQ, Carina is not only one of the most recognisable instrumental musicians in South Africa; she has also made an indelible mark on the open water and marathon swimming record books through many daring and record-breaking swimming feats. Her business, Five Seasons Entertainment, has become synonymous with the South African special events industry, and she has created and guided musical acts to success against all odds in the notoriously rocky music industry. In 2012, she became involved with the Little Fighters Cancer Trust, an NPO which supports children with cancer and their families, and has contributed to significant fundraising and awareness building efforts through her “Swim For Hope” initiative.
Carina completed the degree BMus (Hons) cum laude majoring in Solo Flute at the University of Stellenbosch in 2002, and – instead of following the example of her peers by trying to find a job in an orchestra or as a music teacher (or doing the wise thing and finding a different career altogether!) – Carina started a business in order to promote herself and her affiliated musical groups to the event industry. She was soon representing dozens of artists who were in need of promotion, and through what was now called Five Seasons Entertainment, created and facilitated regular performance opportunities for a large number of performers. At the same time, Carina was still performing at various events and concerts, and she spent an increasing amount of time feeding what has now become her number one addiction – swimming.
Carina won the female category of this race and finished 4th overall, and the open water swimming stalwarts of the Cape Long Distance Association took notice, and encouraged Carina to do some of the other big solo swims that Cape Town waters had to offer. Not that she needed encouragement; the ocean was calling her name, and she answered with dozens of successful extreme swims across the world between 2003 and 2006, with many records and firsts being added to her name.
In March 2005 Carina attempted crossing False Bay, a 36km swim across the white shark capital of the world. The swim had been attempted some 20 times, with only 2 successful crossings at the time. She had been on standby for 2 months, waiting for the wind to drop, and on the 6th of March – a wind free but misty and cool day – Carina started her swim at 06:30 from Millers Point in heavy fog and water of 13-14 degrees. The team was hoping for conditions to improve as the sun came up, but nature had other plans. Four hours into the swim, the conditions remained ominous, and Carina was dangerously hypothermic. She was pulled out semi-unconscious after five hours, having completed only 16km of her dream swim.
A year later on 26 February 2006, Carina swam across False Bay in 10h58, becoming only the third person in history to do so.
Her epic False Bay crossing was followed by a few fast-paced swims in 2006, including the 30km crossing of the Messinian Gulf (Greece), the 20km marathon around Key West Island (USA) and various Robben Island crossings. At the same time, Five Seasons Entertainment was expanding swiftly, and Carina was performing and recording with flamenco outfit Casta Alma. In 2007, she took the first steps towards realising her musical dream of bringing the flute to a wider, more contemporary audience by founding Classical crossover group Sterling EQ. Under Carina’s guidance, Sterling EQ became a household name in the South African music industry, with performing, touring, recording and managing the act soon taking up most of Carina’s time. Having become a mother for the first time in 2008, and again in 2011, Carina’s time was now divided between a dual career in the music industry, and raising her two daughters.
Her drive and passion for the music industry and Sterling EQ culminated in winning a coveted South African Music Award (SAMA) for Sterling EQ Live in Concert – a live DVD which Carina dreamed up and produced – in 2011. In the same year, Sterling EQ performed live on 120 occasions, one of which was the annual Gold Event of the Little Fighters Cancer Trust (LFCT), an organisation supporting children with cancer and their families. Carina was deeply touched by the organisation’s work, as well as the challenge faced by the children and their families, and became more and more involved with LFCT.
And so, Swim For Hope was born in 2013. For the first time in 6 years, Carina took to the cold Atlantic Ocean wearing only a swimsuit, cap and goggles, and rounded Cape Point with its notoriously wild and shark infested waters in 12 degrees Celsius, in a time of 2h36, reaching Buffels Bay in a severely hypothermic state. She raised R17,000 and a lot of media coverage for Little Fighters Cancer Trust. In 2014, in an effort to raise more money and exposure, Carina invited 14 other experienced open water swimmers to join her in what turned out to be a dramatic and record breaking group rounding of the Cape of Storms, raising over R115,000.