Charlotte is swimming because her mum has a spinal cord injury
It means a great deal to me to be raising money to support people with spinal cord injuries as I know first-hand how spinal injuries can have a devasting effect on lives. My mum sustained a spinal injury in 2002 and it changed her life, and ours, considerably. But seeing all the support out there really helped us as a family to adapt.
My mum was a teacher and was involved in an incident at her school. This led to her slowly losing mobility over time. She originally used crutches for a while, but she is now in a wheelchair full time.
It affected her life dramatically, but she tries to see the positives that her injury has brought.
She had to stop teaching but this allowed her to devote more time to her painting. She also travels with my dad to watch rugby, something which she didn't do before. Her life does have its difficulties and her injury has led to more complications than simply pain and mobility loss.
It’s really important to me that people are able to live positively and as independently as possible after a spinal cord injury.
Any charity that offers support is really worthwhile. It’s really important to me that people are able to live positively and as independently as possible after a spinal cord injury. The Aspire Channel Swim will help me to support an excellent charity and allow other families to see that a spinal injury doesn't have to change lives completely. I hope that any contribution I can make during the challenge will go to help people like my mum. My mum is really excited about me taking part!
I found out about the Aspire Channel Swim through Facebook and Aspire seemed to be the perfect fit for me. Swimming is a form of exercise that I enjoy, and I always feel better afterwards. I swim at my local pool, but never been part of any swimming teams or clubs since I was in school. Because I enjoy swimming, giving it a purpose and doing it for such a good cause is something I'm looking forward to. I'm hoping that will keep my motivated to go even when it is cold, wet and dark after a long day at work!
It’s definitely going to be a challenge as I haven't done anything like this before, especially having to swim a certain amount each week. But I'm looking forward to it and to having it completed! I always sponsor friends who do marathons or the Great North Run, so I'm looking forward to doing something similar. I’ll be swimming at my local pool, Gosforth Pool in Newcastle and aiming to do it quicker than 12 weeks. I'm on holiday for a week at the end of October so I'm hoping to have a lot of it done before I go away. Before the Swim starts, I am going swimming every day and just building up the number of lengths I'm doing each time.
Completing the Swim will be a real achievement for me! I’d also like to get fit and lose some weight, and hopefully raise some money for a great charity. I’ve not really done any fundraising since I left school but I’m hoping that people will be generous when I ask them to sponsor me.