Today I am sharing the story of Lia Evans aged 22 from Bexhill Rowing Club who is taking on a rowing challenge along with some other wonderful women that will make such a difference.
A physiotherapist in profession and keen charity fundraiser, I like to physically challenge myself; anything from a skydive to the 3 Peaks Challenge, raising over £1500 for good causes so far. Additionally, I feel strongly about conservation and spent my university
summer volunteering aboard a sea vessel and teaching in Madagascar.
To date, nothing has taught me more about my mental resilience than working as a respiratory physiotherapist on intensive care during the pandemic. I am the first from my family to qualify from university and am proud to have been able to step up and help during COVID-19. I thank ESHT for their continuing support and Bexhill rowing club for keeping me fit and focused throughout this time.
I am predominantly a horse rider but with a change in circumstances I have been able to fully commit to personal improvement in my newfound hobby. Combining my love for the sea and training with determined and likeminded people, this is the beginning of an exciting new era and an ultimate mental and physical test of my training.
What led you to begin rowing?
My love for the water and to thrive in a competitive sport and community.
What made you want to get involved in All Systems Row?
During a very tough couple of months working on COVID ITU, I was driven to ‘live life the fullest’. I decided I needed to take on another challenge and see how far I could push myself. In all honesty, taking on this challenge was my way of not signing straight up for the army. I saw a gap for 6 women in the world records for this challenge and knew I wanted to be part of it.
How did you raise the money to take part in All Systems Row?
With our unique standpoint, we were able to appeal to and gain the support of many reputable companies. It is overwhelming to have the support of individuals and businesses big and small. Early doors, we thought we would simply be side-lined for the fact we are not a strong crew of men. It is interesting to observe that as much as what we are doing as an all-female crew goes against stereotypes, it is often women
high up in businesses and corporations of whom have authorised and granted us such funds. All Systems Row fundraisers have been fun and successful events so far, we are lucky and thankful for the support of friends, family and our individual rowing clubs!
What are you most looking forward to about the adventure?
Experiencing living out in the natural elements, to thrive far outside of societies comfort bubble, and study first-hand the lengths of human resilience.
What do you think you will find most challenging?
Keeping my eyes open after day 1 of 2hours on and 2h off… let alone day 35!
Who has supported you as you prepare for the challenge?
My immediate family have tested my resilience by ensuring we do not underestimate the challenge at hand, catastrophising and discussing a plan of action is actually very necessary preparation! My grandad has allowed me to use a room in his property as a massage room to raise
money for the cause.
My team lead has been flexible with my annual leave and encouraging throughout!
My Partner, Josh is practical and encouraging, with a degree in physiology and sports massage too… he really is a godsend.
What are you hoping to learn?
What I am made of, what I draw upon to keep going, how deep I will dig for a cause I believe in. That rowing Great Britain is possible, if you have determination and a great team.
What do you think the biggest giggle will be?
Seeing Fiona row in my Pickle Rick bucket hat or Steph trying to wash her hair with a water free shower cap. Also, my Leg hair.
What are you personally giving up to take part?
Timely progression in my career as a physiotherapist, as I lose out on the best part of a junior rotation, and the commitment to the two horses I ride.
Which woman dead or alive inspires you most?
Princess Dianna, Preet Chandi and Skye Brown. I cannot choose between them, I admire how they rose in the face of adversity, whilst in the limelight of the royal family, the military, and the Olympics at just 13 years old. Inspiring all with their will power to stand for what they believe in.
What book would you recommend to another woman?
Into The Wild Jon Krakauer or Becoming the 0.1% by Gareth Timmins, sorry they are not specific to women, but they are empowering and encourage stepping outside of your comfort zone. Though, these contrasting books highlight how important preparation is for safety.
What needs to change when it comes to how we look after our planet?
Start to question things you do and use on a daily basis, why is that light on, why do we need the heating on when we have each other, why do we continue to buy food in foil backed packaging, why is PPE not all biodegradable, why are gyms not powering themselves with kinetic energy, why do we continue to invest in petrol cars? Increase the questions, and we increase the answers!
It is important for me to…
Give back to our planet and take climate action whilst we have the chance to!
Completing the challenge as a unit, representing the strength of woman power and diversity in sport! Lots of money and awareness raised for Blue and Renewable worldnto continue the awesome work they are doing to conserve our planet.