Terina is swimming because her mum was paralysed

I decided to take on the Aspire Channel Swim in August. I had been away on a Staycation and I work in a pre-school environment so am on my feet all day, but I felt a little unfit when I was away during our walking sessions whilst enjoying the Cotswold countryside. I decided I needed to get fit and because Aspire is a charity that supports people with spinal injuries, I felt it was a good way to get fit and raise money for people with these types of injuries.

I like swimming as it is a less weight-bearing exercise and good for all-round fitness. I always feel better after a swim - fresh and invigorated! I’m not particularly fast but once I set my mind to something, I like to persevere. I have seen my speed increase with every swim I do as I use my Apple watch to record them, but I know it’s not a race!

Terina

To be honest, I hadn’t done any swimming for a while before this challenge, so at first it felt hard going, but now I am beginning to feel quite proud of my achievements, although I’ve still got a long way to go. I’m going on holiday next week so we will have more opportunity to swim, so I’m hoping to make a big ‘splash’ during my week away.

My advice to other swimmers would be to just keep swimming… you can do it! If I can, anyone can and you’re making a big difference for someone who may need support.

I find fundraising ok. We do a lot of fundraising at my pre-school, for a variety of causes. I don’t like to bother people, but my family and close friends will always support me. Some friends wanted to come and cheer me on, but I explained that it was not done at a planned event, but over the course of several weeks. Maybe when I’m doing my last swim, I may ask them to come and see me finish!

I have met lots of people with a spinal cord injury over the years. My mum, who is sadly no longer with us, had a car accident and was paralysed from the waist down. It took lots of rehabilitation and determination on her part to ensure she had a positive life going forward. She joined some clubs and spent lots of time at Stoke Mandeville hospital and made many friends. She also joined sports clubs and won lots of medals in lots of different sports, so she was a major inspiration to me and my family. She never gave up, went on to meet many people and we shared several holidays with my her so I have lots of positive memories. I also understand the difficulties that many people with such injuries face. I understand how it affects people from all walks of life, all ages and that the injuries can be caused in many different ways.

Raising funds for people with spinal injuries is very important to me because it’s personal and gives me a chance to give back something that would have been a great support for my mum. That makes me feel good.
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