AS a paramedic, Mark Allen has seen his share of young athletes cut down in their prime.
That is why he is going the distance in this weekend's 10km open water swim at the Hazelwood Pondage to raise funds for Leongatha footballer Beau Vernon, who was left a quadriplegic after an onfield collision.
Allen, along with Traralgon Swimming Club head coach Brian Ford, who will also contest the event, is inviting sponsorship per kilometre with the goal of raising $10, 000 for the Vernon family.
The Ambulance Victoria Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance team manager said with adult children of his own he was sympathetic to Vernon's plight and would test new waters on Saturday for the cause, having never swum the full distance before.
"It's a significant personal challenge," Allen said.
"(However) the main focus has been the opportunity to raise money to support Beau's on-going expenses."
The 55 year-old Traralgon Swimming Club member is a veteran of open water events across the state, but will face new challenges in the longer distance.
"It's new territory in the sense of even just nourishment over that distance; you're going to have to take on food and water at some point during the swim," Allen said.
"There'll be things to consider like the cold, cramping, hydration and the other thing will be the weather on the day."
Allen and Ford are no strangers to the fundraising game, having been involved in Traralgon Swimming Club's $44,000 bushfire relief fund effort.
The pair have been training for the past month in preparation for the landmark swim but will gauge their success on money raised for Vernon.
Pledges can be offered through the Traralgon Swimming Club website