Suzanne swam 44 miles, and became 2017's top fundraiser!

Having suffered with severe back and leg pain since 1999, in 2012 I was told that if I didn’t have surgery to fuse my spine I would be paralysed and in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.   

The surgery went well, I did lots of rehab in the pool and life got back on track, but 3 years later I had to have further surgery which left me in excruciating pain. I couldn’t go out, retired from work and lost my confidence. I was undergoing rehab in my local pool, when I noticed a poster advertising the Aspire Channel Swim. 

“Wow” I thought, “I would really like to do that”, even though I couldn’t swim! If I could help others who had not been as fortunate as me, it would give me the purpose I was looking for.   I went to the pool two or three times a week, I was determined to do it but first I had to overcome my fear of deep water. 

I did it! And boy was my confidence soaring, getting in the pool was just like a massive dose of painkillers for me!   

When I started the Aspire Channel Swim I got out of breath at the end of every length. I didn’t think I would get the distance done or raise my initial target of £500. Amazing things happened once I started the challenge - mentally, emotionally and physically. My confidence grew, I got stronger, my lungs improved and I lost over 2 stone in weight.   

Over the 12 weeks I managed to swim 44 miles! Towards the end people started offering me more money to do more lengths, doubling their donation if I completed the 22 miles back again!  Swimming is the only exercise I have been able to do and it’s been just amazing. I’m back to the old me. 

I have 4 dogs and went a bit crazy with the fundraising, having friends who are dog lovers, and amazing people around me really helped. I raised over my initial target of £500 in just a few days. Then I organised 5 different events all involving my passion for dogs, including a dog show. I asked people to donate prizes and to my surprise they were very generous!   I still can’t believe I’ve done it… 

I raised an amazing sum of £4,348.  Exceeding my final goal of raising enough to fund an Aspire Grant for a wheelchair was amazing. I know what it is like to be trapped indoors with someone doing everything for you. I didn't think swimming could ever do what it did for me but the Aspire Channel Swim gave me my life back! What an awesome experience this Aspire swimming challenge has been!!  I still swim 3 times a week. I can’t wait for the 2018 Aspire challenge, I’ve already recruited some ladies to do the swim with me.

To discover your inner champion like Suzanne, sign up to the Aspire Channel Swim today! 

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