Pain Patient ICE SWIM held over to 2022; raises almost $17k for research!

September 7, 2021 (pm) – update

Charm has now raised $16,697 towards her goal of $20,000. Read her story and see if you are inspired to help her!

How to donate to Charm’s Project? You may direct deposit into BSB 182-512 Acct 969025279 (don’t forget to leave your name/email for the receipt) or via credit card by hitting this DONATE button.


“I had a very disappointing day yesterday in which I made the decision to cancel my swim attempt for this year. I say I decided but after a mammoth effort from Narelle Simpson – my swim coach – in speaking to I think everyone in NSW health we were unable to get permission to travel down to the Snowy’s. By the time we would be able to get there the water will be too warm. I think I need to be married to a league player.

“I understand all the reasons why given our current climate but it doesn’t make me feel that much better. I’ll be ok in a few days but it is taking a while to process. One of the main things that is bugging me is that everyone has been so generous in their support and donations over the last few months (for that a massive thank you) and I can’t do my bit.”

On 30th July, she wrote: “So not surprisingly my swim has been pushed out a few weeks. I tried really hard for an exemption so we could have a go on the 2nd but wasn’t successful. The swim will still be at Crackenback and aiming for around the 29th August. Water will hopefully still be cool. A friend who is there at the moment took it today and it was 2.8 degrees so I wouldn’t mind if it was a bit warmer than that.”

Charm in training, including the dreaded ice bath!

June 15, 2021

I can’t remember the last day I wasn’t experiencing pain.

I’m not starting with this statement to get sympathy. It’s part of what’s made me who I am today and for the most part I’m pretty happy with that.

Apparently I have been born with degenerative discs which began to make themselves known when I was in my late teens. When I was 20 I had my first lot of back surgery and had several more over the next 18 odd years. I don’t regret any procedure that I went through as they all helped me in some way. But the degree of assistance they gave diminished over each one.

In 2009 I was referred to the Pain Clinic at North Shore Hospital where I met Prof Michael Cousins (and later on Dr Rebecca Martin) and the rest of the team. This place is the reason I am here today.

Their multidisciplinary approach, individual treatment plans and honesty about my condition have enabled me to cope with chronic pain and the life it entails. It’s been a combination of noninvasive, invasive procedures and mental training that has got me here. I still attend the clinic for treatment now.

It’s for these reasons that I am aiming to raise money for the Pain Foundation to help them expand and further their research into chronic pain and its management so others can benefit like I have.

I’m a swim coach by trade who has trained and supported dozens of long distance Channel swims around the world. While this has been an amazing experience I’ve struggled with it a bit as these swims were something I have always wanted to do myself. My spine had other ideas.

Over the years I’ve alternated through stages of being able to swim quite well to not being able to swim at all. Walking with a stick to taking the dogs for a massive walk. Weighing nearly 90 kg to down to 70 and training with a PT twice a week. Last year a friend suggested I try and do an ice mile and I discovered I can swim quite well in cold water.

On August 20th 2020 I became the second Australian female to swim an Ice Mile (1600m in water under 5 degrees) and then 3 days later the second Australian and the only Australian female to swim an Extreme Ice Mile (2km in under 5 degrees). At the moment I’m 25th in the world in the distance travelled in cold water.

This year I am aiming to swim as far as I can in water under 5 degrees. The world record is 3.75km and the female world record is 3.3km. I think I can beat these!

To find out more or to help research into understanding pain please contact Shaan at the Pain Foundation on email



We’re always in need of additional funding assistance

Clinic Administration Enquiries

Bernadette Foley
Michael J Cousins Pain Management & Research Centre
Royal North Shore Hospital,
Douglas Building
T: +61 (0)2 9463 1500
F: +61 (0)2 9463 1050


Shaan & Geoffrey Verco, Pain Foundation Ltd
c/- PMRC, Douglas Building
Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards NSW 2065
T: +61 (0)2 8387 3483