Kelowna’s 90-year-young Conny Stamhuis is ready to attempt her sixth 2.1 kilometre swim across Okanagan Lake on July 16, 2022.
Swimming across the lake is not Stamhuis’ biggest challenge this year, however. In celebrating her 90th birthday she set herself the goal of raising $10,000 for Doctors Without Borders. Doctors Without Borders is an international, independent medical humanitarian organization that provides medical assistance to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disaster or exclusion from healthcare, without regard to race, religion or political affiliation.
Stamhuis, who emigrated to Canada from the Netherlands at age 20, studied nursing in her forties. “It was always a dream of mine to join MSF but my husband did not believe in equality of sexes at the time so I never did.” “With the war in Ukraine and all the other tragic assaults against humanity, I feel stronger than ever that I need to make a contribution. Although I can’t join them at 90, I can still raise funds to support their efforts. I need and would appreciate all the help I can get to reach my goal” says Stamhuis. You can support Conny’s goal by clicking on this link to donate to Doctors Without Borders.
The petite Stamhuis, an inspiration to many around her, started swimming again at age 65. “I suppose you could call me a late bloomer. I just love how swimming has enriched my life and has helped me to stay active in the community,” she says. Swimming is a family affair for the Stamhuis clan with Conny’s son Michael having successfully completed the Interior Savings Across the Lake Swim Kelowna 14 times and her daughter Jonie and son-in-law Ken, being her escorts across the lake.
Stamhuis is a member of Okanagan Masters Swim Club and recently participated in the 2022 BC Masters Swimming Championships in White Rock. She set a provincial record in the 90-94 age group for the 200-metre backstroke and also placed first in the 50-metre breaststroke and 50-metre backstroke. She was inducted into the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.