Taking the plunge

A non-swimmer for 60 years, Bruce Easson does it for family

Bruce Easson

Bruce Easson never learned how to swim.

At age 12, he says he sank like a stone during lessons and people had to rescue him.

“I got into the pool and I sank to the bottom,” says Easson, now 84. “I never learned how to get to the surface so at age 12, I decided I was going to be a non-swimmer.”

Complicating matters as he grew older were health and mobility issues arising from Cerebral Palsy, a condition he has had all his life. That made it difficult to move, let alone jump into a pool or lake to go for a swim. He said it has been 60 years or so since he even tried.

Yet, the desire to take the plunge never entirely vanished and when his granddaughter took to the water and became a competitive swimmer, Easson decided it was time to finally get his feet wet.

“It’s time to learn,” he said during his first lesson at Panorama Recreation Centre. “I’ve decided to fulfil one of my life ambitions — to learn to swim and then swim with my granddaughter.”

Easson’s granddaughter, Alexa Bryant, is a Grade 10 and swims competitively in Victoria. She said she is impressed with her grandad’s spirit.

“I didn’t know he decided to learn to swim,” she said. “I’m pretty impressed.”

Alexa added she’s looking forward to swimming a length of the pool with her grandfather — and even letting him finish first.

“He never ceases to amaze me,” added Easson’s daughter, Ondine.

“He has always been so determined. He has had his ups and downs with his health over the last four or five years. At one point, he even had to re-learn how to walk.”

A strong will and an optimistic outlook has helped Easson battle through health problems all his life. Now, he’s taking on a new challenge with help from the staff at his home at Sidney’s Rest Haven Lodge, and instructors at Panorama.

Brenda Hennigar, executive director of the Rest Haven Lodge Foundation said Easson approached their staff, asking if they could help him fulfill an item on his bucket list. Tapping into her connections at Panorama (her husband Ian is the Centre’s manager), the lessons were arranged.

“His will to learn is amazing,” said Cathy Watts, Panorama’s assistant aquatics co-ordinator and Easson’s swim coach.

“He just dove in, put his face in the water and started floating.”

Watts said it will take him a while to be able to swim a length of the pool.

“He will be using muscles that he hasn’t used in a while,” she explained. “But he definitely has the will.”

Easson said he wasn’t nervous getting into the water, especially with all the support he has.

“I have a granddaughter who is a competitive swimmer,” he said. “We are going to see who’s going to be getting into the pool first.”

Easson added he has more bucket list items and said he will be taking them on, one at a time.

 

Just Posted

Pearkes book sale will have 15,000 titles

Some seek volume of books while others hunt early editions in annual Saanich sale

Gingerbread Showcase returns for another year of delicious fun in Victoria

Funds raised from the event support Habitat for Humanity Victoria’s build in Central Saanich

Kelly Ellard’s boyfriend has statutory release revoked

Darwin Duane Dorozan had several parole infractions that found him ‘unmanageable’

Colwood mayor pitches ferry as commuter alternative

Mayor Rob Martin says different modes of transportation need to be considered

Bouquet sales support big dreams in Greater Victoria

Country Grocer features holiday bouquets for Help Fill a Dream

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Greater Victoria holiday craft fair roundup for Nov. 16 to 18

Check off all of the items on your shopping list at these great events

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Doctor’s note shouldn’t be required to prove you’re sick: poll

70% of Canadians oppose allowing employers to make you get a sick note

Port Alberni convenience store robbed

Police still searching for suspect

German-born B.C. man warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Saskatchewan college honours memory of Humboldt Broncos coach

Darcy Haugan wore jersey No. 22 when he was a star player with the Briercrest College Clippers

Most Read