Aspire Channel Swim – Bonjour Calais!!
Its Sunday morning and I am sat in bed… doesn’t sound that unusual but for me it is weird. Usually around this time I am halfway through splashing up and down our local pool, an hour into some of my favourite couple of hours in the week! For any of you that have been anywhere near my facebook or the Peachicks’ Bakery twitter account for the last 3 months you may have read a few (ok a million) updates on my Aspire Channel Swim progress. So far in its 16year history the Aspire Channel Swim alone has raised £4.5million!!
The challenge was to swim the length of the English Channel (22miles) in your local pool over the last 12weeks. Despite my lungs protesting over a minor chest infection, poorly Peachicks & Daddy Peacock’s Kidney Stones I am very pleased to say I finished all 22 miles on Sunday 6th December!! I did at one point, after 6 weeks out the pool for one reason or another, think it was never going to happen but 15miles over the last 3 weeks has ensured that I did every last metre of the challenge. Yaaayyy!! So far I have raised a modest £45 and am very grateful to everyone who has donated to this very worthwhile cause! I did get a small reward for doing this – I had a bit of birthday money left over and so I treated myself to a Misfit Shine Swimmers Edition – a fitness tracker that actually lap counts in the pool. I LOVE it and you can read the review here.
***I am still fundraising so there is still time to contribute a few pennies through my Justgiving page – https://www.justgiving.com/midgeaspireswim ***
Aspire are a charity that supports people of all ages who have been paralysed by a spinal cord injury, with the aim of helping them live full & independent lives. Currently there is no cure for spinal injury, they often happen with no warning and the implications for those affected are wide ranging and not simply limited to having to use a wheelchair.
When Daddy Peacock had his motorbike accident he was wearing a back protector which thankfully protected his spine from any injury. He did however manage to break (def an understatement) both arms and his ankle and so had to use a wheelchair full time for a good few months and then periodically ever since. At the time we knew no-one that was in or had ever used a wheelchair so we had no idea how complicated the simple things like just moving around the house (tiny two up two down terrace) would be. Getting him up the stairs and in the bath was hard enough and he still had one leg to stand on and no limitations to movement in his body – so what we would have done faced with the situation of a spinal cord injury I have no idea.
(I should point out that we had a lot of support from the in-laws we even moved in for a few weeks but being home was more comfortable for both of us especially with an allergic little person in tow – its hard to yell at each other or cry or just sit when you are in someone else’s house no matter how at home they make you feel – sometimes you just need your own bubble.)
Luckily I was on maternity leave, the oldest Peachick was 8 months old so I was around 24/7 to start with but had I been working I have no idea what we would have done. Going out with a wheelchair was a new experience – firstly getting out the house over the door step, then up the narrow path to the car, then getting the thing folded up without getting covered in oil (sounds so shallow but I did cry over it at least once) and finding a way to get it in my tiny car with baby stuff… And then you are out – shops have stairs, narrow doorways, raised kerbs…. the list goes on. Matt didn’t get a blue badge but thankfully we had Alys so we parked in the baby spaces to give him more room to get in and out of the car – try getting a wheelchair down the side of a car in a normal space IT DOES NOT WORK!! We both get very annoyed when people park in disabled spaces when they have no badge – trust me they are vitally important for some people and walking an extra few metres is good for you so just don’t.
Then there is the issue of money, Matt was able to work from home a few hours a week after a few months – he has one of those jobs where it is possible – not everyone does. But we were still left one complete income down (I had to leave my job to look after him at the end of maternity leave) and most of his*; so we were left with the impossible system of claiming any and every penny you are entitled to – and the giant fight that goes with it.
*because he was working part time he didn’t get sick pay for the rest of the time; we would have been better off him not working at all but it was important for him to work to get back to some normality.
Aspire helps with all of these things and more – the list is huge and also includes providing grants for equipment and access to Independent Living Advisors who help unravel the massess (or not) of information people are given and offer practical advice on day to day living. All the things that leaflets won’t tell you because how many shopping trips has a leaflet ever actually been on!
So check out their website, maybe donate a bit or have a look at all the different ways you can join in and fundraise for them (pool swims, open water swims, reading challenges & more)! www.aspire.org.uk And brace yourself for more of the same next year – I’m definitely doing the Channel swim in 2016 – I’m planning on going there and back so get ready for twice as many updates!! I’d love to do the actual Channel swim but grumpy lungs and open water DO NOT MIX!!!