12 Year Old Swimmer Completes Swimathon For Children In Disadvantaged Communities


The cheerful voice of 12-year-old Giselle answers the phone with a friendly ‘Hello?’.

Giselle has just finished swimming 4km to raise vital funds for children in disadvantaged communities as part of Ardoch’s ‘In Celebration’ initiative.

“I did a program at school called ‘UJEB’. For the first term, we had to make an action project. It had to be something you love doing, combined with raising money for a charity. I love doing swimming, so I thought doing a Swimathon would be perfect!” explains the young swimmer.

“Instead of people giving money for my Bat Mitzvah, it went into my fundraising page on everydayhero for Ardoch. We raised almost $1500. It was based off how many laps I could swim in an hour and I swam 4km.”

“I felt really proud,” she comments when asked how it felt at the finish line. “I was the first one to do it out of my group (The Action Project). I felt that people might be inspired by my swimming because I felt really proud of my efforts and I knew that it was going to a good cause. I was pretty tired, though! I was pushing myself a lot because I really wanted to do 4km for the cause.”

Generosity and philanthropy may run in the family as Giselle explains her relationship with Ardoch founder, Kathy Hilton.

“She is my Great Aunty. She is part of my family and our family are quite close, so we all hear each other’s stories and I’ve heard lots about how Ardoch started. I thought it might be a nice thing for me to do something related to her. She came along and cheered me on, which was really good.”


You might wonder who inspires someone so young to think so selflessly about those educationally disadvantaged.

“I’m inspired by Oprah! I think she’s a self-made woman and I like people who have worked hard to get to where they are. She’s come from a rough background and she still helps people.”

“I think not having the ability to learn and have friends at school is hard. To have friends and have those opportunities that other people get is really important. They might not grow up and have a good job because they didn’t learn much at school or they couldn’t go to school. Some people don’t get that opportunity because they’re homeless or they don’t have enough money to go to school.”

While thanking her for her time, I couldn’t help but ask one final question which adequately summed up Giselle’s modest endeavours.

“What would you say if I thought you were an inspiration to the community and children in Australia?”

“Umm…I would say... thank you!”. 

1 in 3 children from disadvantaged communities in Australia begin school developmentally vulnerable and it’s Ardoch’s mission to correct this. More than 93 percent of Ardoch’s revenue comes from community fundraising, philanthropy, and corporate partnerships. Ardoch relies on the community to raise more than 2 million dollars each year to increase engagement in education, build aspirations and enhance learning outcomes for children in disadvantaged communities.

To start your own ‘In Celebration’ event to raise vital funds for children’s education, please visit - tinyurl.com/InCelebration