Noelle is swimming because her father was paralysed for 7 months before he died

I found out about the Aspire Channel Swim through an advert in Slimming World magazine.

I signed up because I wanted to raise money for a very good cause; my father was paralysed from his neck down for 7 months before he died and that was devastating for both him and us; it turned our lives upside down.

When I think about younger people being given that news it fills me with horror and if jumping in the pool for an hour is all I need to do to raise some money to help them, then that’s the least I can do.

I love swimming because of the feeling of being free in the water, the time on my own (although at times during the challenge I have been lonely which surprised me), a bit of ‘head space’ and escape from the world. I swim for my wellbeing and health as well as fitness and toning. Before lockdown I swam regularly but the pandemic stopped swimming in its tracks. I have even considered having my own pool at home!

Noelle

I am fundraising through Facebook and word of mouth. I am lucky to have some fantastic and very generous friends and a couple of businesses have also sponsored me. I have contacted my local radio station who posted it on their Facebook page and I am considering contacting my local paper.

I am not bombarding my Facebook page. I made a lot of noise at the beginning and halfway through, but as people tend to get fed up of seeing it I want to keep it alive and fresh, so I choose my timing. Now I am on my countdown to the end, I am going to post after each mile and make a big noise when I have finished.

I don’t know anyone with a spinal cord injury but can identify with the trauma it causes from my experience when father was paralysed. I am very grateful to be able to get up and go to the pool let alone swim 22 miles.

My heart goes out to those people who are just being told they will never walk or live a ‘normal’ life again – it must be terrifying. I’m also grateful to the people who have given their money, I have been moved to tears a couple of times.

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