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Chron's sufferer who swam the sea and set up charity is Local Hero
This local hero swam the Channel, set up his own charity and raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for his community - all while battling a crippling disease.
Rob Starr, 44, from Hove, suffers from rheumatism, osteoporosis and Crohn's disease - a long-term condition involving inflammation of the lining of the digestive system.
But he doesn't want his life to be defined by his battle with Crohn's.
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Instead, he hopes it is defined by his positive contribution to his community.So who is he?
Rob is the founder of the Starr Trust - a Brighton and Hove children's charity that champions the city's youth in sport, education and art.
He set up the charity in 2006 after losing his father to bowel cancer, an event so devastating both business and his health took a turn for the worse.
In an attempt to try and turn a corner, Rob borrowed some cash and set up the Starr Trust to honour his father's name and “bring back some positivity” in his life.
Rob said: “To date, five years on, the Starr Trust has raised and given away over £300,000 and helped well over 2000 young people.
“Being involved in with the trust has changed my life in so many ways and brought back to me the positivity that my father always had.
“As a way of raising funds, I took on the challenge of learning to swim and then swam a solo of the English Channel.
“I started that journey back in 2010 and completed it with a relay swim in August 2012.
“During that time the Crohn's played its part in both motivating me and pulling me back in equal measure.
“Some mornings I woke at 5am in crippling pain and then had to force myself out of bed at 6am to go in the sea.
“What I never expected was that sea swimming in cold water, with no wetsuit, actually would come to help my condition.”
Rob found his experiences in cold sea would remove all his pain within just a few seconds, leaving him pain free for most of the day.
Since finishing his channel challenge, which raised £80,000, he's continued to swim in the sea every morning before work.
He added: “I am now taking on more physical challenges for the Starr Trust, having also now run the Brighton marathon and cycled up Le Mont Ventoux this year, which includes in 2014 an Olympic distance Triathlon followed by an Arch to Arc 300 mile Triathlon relay in 2015.
“I am also leading a team to develop the King Alfred into a unique Inspirational Community Hub for Sport, Art and Culture called The Lyrics - www.thelyrics-hove.com - which if successful will run as a not-for-profit CIC and con- tinue the amazing work that the Starr Trust now does.”
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