63 year old Heather has arthritis and has had a knee operation and a new hip this year

When I was a child, swimming the channel was one of my dreams.  So, by taking on the Aspire Channel Swim, I'll be achieving a dream as well as helping myself back to fitness. 

I’m 63, have arthritis, and this year I had a knee operation in January and a new hip in June.  At the moment I’m up and moving so I want to use my swimming to help people with mobility problems.  It will also help me; I know I’ll need other operations in the future, but I’ll keep moving while I can, it’s so important to me.

Heather Curry 92

I do love swimming.  When I was young, I was a club swimmer and a competitive diver.  I trained in Recreation Management and have taught and coached swimming most of my adult life, and I've also worked with disabled people, including many with spinal injuries.  I retired at the beginning of this year because of my arthritis.  It was getting hard to walk round the pool for hours at a time, and to climb in and out. 

The Aspire Channel Swim will be a challenge for me in many ways; I haven’t done very much swimming myself for a long time, so I’m not water-fit.  I’m also not good at a routine now I’ve retired, so I know it won’t be easy to get into a good routine and stick at it.  I also tend to over-do things and injure myself, so I’ll have to take it very steadily. On the plus side, it’s non weight-bearing which is good for me, and in the water, I don’t limp!  I feel like myself.

Heather Curry 2

I’m looking forward to the challenge.  I was going to try to do it in 6 weeks, but I’ve had a re-think and may well take the 12 weeks.  I’ll see how it goes, as I have to walk my energetic young collie twice a day and I don’t want to exhaust myself!  I have upped my level of exercise this month. Since I had my lovely new hip I’ve been walking, swimming and cycling to build up strength round my joints. 

I swim to keep myself moving.  It’s also a bit like meditation and really does help me to feel calmer

I’ve lost over a stone this year and have about another 10lb to lose to put less strain on my joints, so it should help with that too.

Heather Curry 9

It really means a lot to me to support people with spinal injuries.  I’ve seen people diving into the shallow end at pools.  I’ve seen head and neck injuries. I know how to get people out of a pool on a spine board on a spine board. I’ve tried to help people with spinal injuries at work, and although my mobility problems are only a fraction of the problems caused by spinal injury, I still find them extremely frustrating, so I have real empathy. 

Research is making such great strides but, in the meantime, injured people and their loved ones need a lot of help and support, both emotionally and physically.  The money raised by the Aspire Channel Swim can help them.

Heather Curry 1
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