“I have been able to help improve the quality of someone else's life”
Lesley Dobbie from West Sussex, first swam the Aspire Channel Swim aged 51. She has a spinal injury herself, but wanted to make a difference for others with less mobility than her.
Her father was a wheelchair user after being badly injured playing rugby, and Lesley never thought it would happen to her. However in 2010 she also sustained a spinal injury – and instead of coming out of an operation with everything on the mend– she was left totally paralysed from the chest down after surgical errors. After a huge amount of effort on her part, and an awful lot of luck, she started to get some feeling back after four months. It was then that she signed up to do the Aspire Channel Swim as a way to exercise, keep fit and do a sport despite her lack of mobility.
“I know what devastation comes from Spinal Cord Injury – your life completely changes. I remember experts saying to me that I would never get out of a wheelchair, and that was even before I could get out of my hospital bed!
“I know what amazing work Aspire does for people who struggle with everyday living and in my own small way I wanted to give something back. I’m fortunate that I don’t need help from Aspire but through Aspire I have been able to help improve the quality of someone else's life.
“It was at Salisbury where I found out I could still swim. Navigating the side of the pool was a bit tricky, but once I was in the water, I was fine. I signed up to the Aspire Channel Swim because it became a way to exercise, keep fit and also do a sport despite my lack of mobility.”
Despite her difficulty in walking, Lesley participated in the Aspire Channel Swim in 2015, raising just over £1,500. She completed the 22 miles of ‘channel’ in about five weeks after tallying up two miles each time she went to her local pool (Inspire Leisure Centre Felpham).