‘Merbloke’ swims for sick kids
A Golden Bay ‘merbloke’ has waved his tail off Rockingham foreshore to bring magic and smiles to sick kids around the country.
Twenty-eight-year-old Callon Leam, aka Merman Atticus: Prince of Oceania, first had the idea of transforming into the half-fish/half-human creature when he came across Mako Mermaids on Netflix.
“It’s an Australian series where a boy falls into the pool and he becomes a merman,” he said.
“But he didn't become feminine, he was still himself. He was an ordinary person and he just grew a tail.
“When I was growing up, mermaids were a girls-only thing. I've always loved the ocean and when I saw that I thought, ‘you know what, I could give it a go’.”
It took Mr Leam a few months to create his tail and he has since been under the sea as the magical creature for more than two years.
Mr Leam has entered Starlight Super Swim, which began on Sunday and runs for 30 days until February 24.
The initiative sees participants swim as many kilometres as they can within the 30 days, while raising money for the Starlight Children’s Foundation - a charity dedicated to brightening the lives of sick children and their families.
Mr Leam started working towards his 14km goal on Australia Day at Rockingham beach.
The merman wanted ill children to know there were magical creatures, as well as humans, swimming to make them feel better.
Mr Leam, a confident swimmer, said travelling the water with a tail was not difficult at all.
“Like anything you do, bike riding, scuba diving, it comes with practice,” he said.
“I’ve been doing it for two to three years now and it’s really easy.
“In fact, I find it much easier to swim with my tail than I do with my regular legs.
“It doesn't hinder my swimming efforts, if anything it propels me. When you swim you become very hydrodynamic.
“The real trick is just coming up for air when I need to.”
Mr Leam plugs his fundraising page whenever he trains at the beach. He also promotes Atticus’ efforts at karaoke appearances, usually with a rendition of a song from The Little Mermaid.
“Every single time I go out in my tail there's always kids on the shore who are screaming ‘look mum a mermaid’,” he said.
“Seeing them light up by witnessing something so magical before them is better than anything people could give.”
To support Merman Atticus’ Starlight fundraiser, click here.
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