6 PR takeaways from a Dutch Olympian’s marathon swim

When former Gold-medalist Maarten van der Weijden decided to swim a 55-hour course to raise money for cancer research, he needed a PR team to tell his story.

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In August 2018 Maarten van der Weijden, former Olympic gold medalist for the Netherlands, undertook an epic 55-hour swim to raise money for cancer research.

This wasn’t just any course. Every winter the Dutch hope that the waterway connecting 11 cities in the northern province of Friesland will freeze over so they can hold their beloved “Elfstedentocht” ice skating tour. In Maarten’s mind, what better way to bring attention and funding than to commit to swimming this iconic route?

Having contracted and then beaten Leukemia in the ten years following his big win at the Beijing Olympics, Maarten suffered from survivor’s guilt. He felt he couldn’t continue living happily while so many people were still suffered. Maarten had the drive and the plan; how would he actually raise public awareness for his cause?

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