Aug 23, 2016
Jane Hatwell, 44 has ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease and 2015 saw her lose so much weight that her body began to shut down. That didn’t stop this woman though! She completed the 22 mile challenge single-handedly and following her participation in the Aspire Channel Swim, she went into remission, and attributes the swimming exercise as the reason for her miraculous recovery.
Jane was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2009 after a serious time of being unwell. After years of living a normal life with no symptoms, she had a major relapse in 2014, and a year later was also diagnosed with Crohns disease.
“By Christmas 2014 I was hospitalised and then my health deteriorated rapidly,” she explains. “I had symptoms ranging from food poisoning and fatigue to sleeplessness, and joint and muscle aches and pains.”
After a whole variety of medicines failed to improve her condition, Jane decided to take part in the Aspire Channel Swim – which she attributes as the major factor for her miraculous remission.
“Being ill had dominated and consumed my life for over a year,” she says. “There were days when I could barely get out of bed due to pain, lack of sleep and lack of food, but I would literally drag myself to the pool and that is where I found my strength through swimming.
“I have always been a fitness fanatic and have always been active in sports so when I became seriously ill this took everything away from me; my independence, my activities, my social life, and my identity.
“Once I started swimming though, I found I wanted to return every day and it became my focus. I never felt pain in the water, and felt calm and relaxed and I found I could gradually push myself and coped ok. I ended up completing the 22 mile Aspire Channel Swim in 22 days.
Jane’s achievement is all the more amazing as just months before, she’d lost so much weight that her body had begun to shut down. Her consultant had sent her for over 16 biopsies, and then in February 2015, she was medically withdrawn from eating any solid food and put on prescription drinks for eight months.
“At my lowest point I found new strength from swimming,” Jane recalls. “In September 2015 my consultant made the decision to tell my family that there was nothing she could do for me anymore and that I needed a major life saving operation to have any chance of a normal life.
“I found out about the Aspire Channel Swim at this time which I was able to do at my local pool, in my own time, and at my leisure to fit around my health as I was extremely weak. By October I was already in remission which totally shocked my consultant!
“I truly believe swimming and participating in the Aspire Channel Swim was the main reason I managed to get into remission so quickly. In the pool I am 100% better and stronger. It’s funny how a disability or major set-back in your life can become an advantage. When your freedom is taken away you either sink or swim (excuse the pun)!”
Jane raised £260 from swimming the channel – money that will go towards enabling us to buy equipment that will make people’s lives easier following Spinal Cord Injury.