COVERING 80 miles of ocean while stand up paddleboarding would be an ambitious challenge for most of us.

But for Jack Cox, 20, it is all the more daring.

Jack, a business management student at Essex University, has Cystic Fibrosis - and limited experience on a paddleboard.

The first year student will be one of four people with the condition participating in the Crossing For A Cure challenge.

It will see a team paddleboard from the Bahamas to Florida across 12 hours.

Jack, who was diagnosed when he was 18-months-old, is hoping to raise $10,000 - around £7,800 - to fund research into the condition.

The cash raised will also be used to provide financial support for fellow sufferers and their families.

When he was first diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, Jack’s family were told he would be unlikely to make it to the age of 25.

Jack is an accomplished swimmer after a childhood doctor encouraged him to take up the sport.

As a teenager, he was the first person with Cystic Fibrosis to compete in the British national championships, competing in the 100 and 200 metres freestyle.

But he is less skilled when it comes to paddleboarding.


“When I signed up, I thought ‘Right, now I need to learn how to paddleboard’,” he said.

“I haven’t fallen off yet but I think endurance is going to be the real issue.

“The furthest I have paddled in practise is 15 miles, so I don’t know how an 80 mile challenge will affect me.”

Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic condition which affects more than 10,000 people in the UK.

The condition affects the lungs and digestive system and requires daily medication.

Jack, who trains daily in the gym at Essex Sports Centre, says it takes around three hours a day to deal with his condition.

“I wake up every morning and I have to do two rounds of inhaled antibiotics to loosen the mucus in my lungs and reduce inflammation,” he said.


“Each round of antibiotics takes about 15 minutes. Then I do 15 minutes of physiotherapy.

“And then I take another round of inhaled antibiotics, to make sure that any bacteria get killed.

“I take about 80 tablets a day to help my body absorb fat and then I take more antibiotics in the evening.”

Jack will set off alongside 50 other participants on Saturday at midnight.

He has been fundraising on campus, supported by team-mates from the University Swimming Club. To donate visit and search for Jack Cox.