A SELF-CONFESSED aquaphobe is dipping more than her toe in the water to raise money for charity.

Toni Ross has been taking the plunge this month to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support – despite admitting even looking at the sea or a swimming pool gives her “sweaty hands and a racing heart”.

Every day throughout October, she is braving the water – either off East Lothian’s coast or through an ice bath.

She said: “When my oldest daughter was born, I did not want them to be scared of the water so I took them swimming.

“Once they learned to swim, I just hid from it and thought I don’t need to go in the water anymore.

“It is well known in my family that I don’t do water.

“I don’t put myself in situations where I need to do water.

“I told my brother about this and he said: ‘You do remember you are scared of water?’”

Stopping coffee

Toni, who lives in Tranent with her two children, is no stranger to raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Her mum, Pauline, was diagnosed with lung cancer and sadly passed away.

Since then, Toni, through various fundraisers, has collected more than £1,000, with this year’s challenge already passing £800.

Toni said: “This is the fourth year and someone said to me: ‘What are you doing this October?’

“I gave up coffee two years ago and I am a big coffee drinker.

“I have got a little coffee tattoo and giving it up was one of the hardest things I have done.

“I thought I could not beat it but here we go, and that is where the whole thing has come from.”

Worse when calm

Toni, who works as a sports therapist for Haddington Athletic, having previously taken on a similar role at both Ormiston Primrose and Musselburgh Athletic, was unsure where her fear of water stemmed from.

The only incident that she could recall was being on holiday in France when she was a child and slipping through a rubber ring.

She described how difficult she had found taking on the fundraising challenges.

The 35-year-old said: “I would never do giving up coffee again.

“Drinking a slushie when everybody else was having a coffee was not fun but this is hard.

“A week into it and I thought I would be giving it up.”

Toni, who also runs a sports therapy and personal training business, Serotoning Fitness, is now nearing the end of her challenge.

Speaking to the Courier last Friday, she said: “When the water is calmer that makes it worse.

“I don’t know, I don’t understand why, but if it is calm – even talking about it my heart is racing – it is like, if I went to the pool I could not get in until somebody else does.

“I don’t know why and it makes zero sense!

“Everybody thinks the more you get on, the easier it will be but Tuesday was a lovely day and it was one of my worst!”

Go to justgiving.com/fundraising/toniscoldwaterchallenge2023 to support Toni.