Virgin Group founder and chairman Sir Richard Branson is not your typical entrepreneur. In addition to being an outrageously successful businessman and one of the wealthiest people in the world, Branson has proven himself to be quite the daredevil. One of his more notable stunts is a persistent and ongoing attempt to circumnavigate the globe in a hot-air balloon.

What makes this wacky Brit such a lovable figure, though, is his humanitarianism and philanthropy, which he often combines with his flair for the dramatic. Branson’s latest venture in that arena? Why, swimming the Irish Sea, of course! In order to raise money for cancer research, Branson and Irish pop star Ronan Keating (of the Dublin band Boyzone) will swim the 56-mile body of water. The successful swim would seek to set a new Guinness World Record, and, more importantly, it would raise £1 million for Cancer Research UK.

If you’d like to show your support for the ambitious celebrity swim, you can make a donation at Virgin’s website. Better yet, if you live in the UK (or plan on being there in the near future), you can actually join Branson and Keating’s relay team by signing up at the event’s Facebook page.

It’s a pretty rare opportunity to swim the Irish Sea in the first place, but swimming it with Richard Branson to support cancer research? If that’s not a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I don’t know what is. Besides, I doubt that even Branson could handle a 56-mile swim without some assistance.

  • herwin

    globally the top three lethal cancers are 1.lung cancer, 2.stomach cancer,3.colorectal cancer.
    All these cancers can be prevented by a. not smoking and b.eating more healthy and less meat.

    • Ali Garfinkel

      thanks, dr. herwin. we’ll be sure to tell all the families of those afflicted with those diseases the good news, especially the ones who tried to eat healthy or never smoked a cigarette in their life.

      • herwin

        because i talk about prevention you assume that i am against finding a medicine for already sick people. that’s silly.

        look at lung cancer and aids, the biggest impact of of decimating these lethal diseases have been global long lasting campaigns of educating the public and promoting prevention, like “safe sex” campaigns.
        I am sure you can agree that these camapigns are saving millions of lives and lots of pain, right ?

  • Ali Garfinkel

    Uh actually, I didn’t assume that at all. I just don’t agree with your massively generalized statement that “all these cancers can be prevented by doing this,” because that’s not true. Plenty of people are diagnosed with lung cancer that have never smoked a cigarette, for example, Dana Reeve.

    And this has nothing to do with AIDS. We’re not talking about a sexually transmitted disease which is preventable, we’re talking about cancer that can afflict anyone.