Rebecca is swimming because her uncle is paralysed
I signed up for the Aspire Channel Swim because my uncle had an accident in the sea this May and has been left paralysed from the neck down due to a spinal cord injury. I wanted to raise funds for Aspire so that they could help people in similar situations as it changed his and our family’s life in an instant. As his injury is complete, it is permanent and absolutely heart breaking for all the family. It has taken a long time for some family members to come to terms with it, and some still haven't. He was the ‘cool’ uncle; the one with the convertible, who played the guitar and sang (mostly reggae songs), surfed and was the life and soul of the party, especially with his great ability to imitate accents.
We must be grateful that we are fit and able and not worry about the small things so much. I started fundraising and doing this challenge for Aspire as I thought it would help someone with this injury but without ever thinking it would help my uncle directly. Last week I was absolutely thrilled to hear that he had had a visit from Aspire and they were discussing computers with eye control for his use. My motivation levels soared!
I couldn't believe that some of the funds that I have raised will directly help my uncle. I really appreciate Aspire. I couldn't be more thrilled.
This week I will email the colleagues who haven't sponsored me yet and send out texts to friends asking for their support.
I have fundraised before by doing other charity swims. It's awkward at first, asking people for money, but a colleague said to me that as I am doing something for charity and she isn't, the least she can do is sponsor me. I emailed everyone at work individually (rather than a group email) as then people feel obliged to answer, and hopefully sponsor.
I have always loved swimming but haven't swum regularly for a couple of years due to doing other sports (mainly surfing). As with any sport, when you are swimming you don't have time to focus on any of the daily niggles that you may be thinking of otherwise. It gives me energy. When I haven't felt like going for a swim, I know that afterwards I will feel so much better; more energetic and happier. I am now set in a routine of being at the pool at 6.30am every weekday and swimming as far as I can for 30 minutes.
Believe me, when it's raining outside and dark and cold it's a mental struggle to get out of bed, but that's when I always think of my uncle and how fortunate I am being able to walk, let alone swim. It's a strong motivator
I have found the monotony of swimming to be peaceful. I get into a rhythm and watch out anyone who tries to get in my way (especially at the hotel pool where there are no lanes!). Rather than plough up and down doing front crawl all the time, I alternate with using fins and paddles (or sometimes both at the same time) which is when I feel like I'm flying through the water! I definitely enjoy sea swimming more than pool swimming as I find it more interesting and challenging.
Next year I will plan my swimming schedule at the start of the challenge and get into a routine straight away. I found after having sciatica and being out of the water for two weeks panic set in when I calculated how much I had to swim daily in order to finish the challenge. When I signed up, I was also going to take part in a 1.5 mile sea swim around St. Michael's Mount in Marazion, Cornwall. I thought that the Aspire swim would be a lot easier, however, due to the length of the swim and it having to be part of your life, rather than a one off event, it has been a challenge, which I am still enjoying.
The Facebook Group is a wonderful support to know that there are many people like myself; working mums who are squeezing in swims whenever they can. There have been absolutely NO negative comments ever; a very pleasant change for social media!