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Devon family takes the plunge for Diabetes UK

A Newton Abbott family that knows first-hand the dangers of diabetes is swimming the equivalent of the English Channel to raise awareness of the condition and funds for Diabetes UK.


Nichola Smith, 40, together with her husband Neil and 12-year-old daughter Abbi, is taking on the swimming challenge of the year, Swim22, between 22 February and 22 May 2018, because Abbi has Type 1 diabetes.

The family are swimming 22 miles, the distance of the English Channel, at Newton Abbot Leisure Centre.

Nichola, who works in telesales for a catering wholesale company, said:

“In 2016 Abbi had been having weeing accidents, feeling really thirsty and lethargic, and was losing weight before my eyes, but I didn’t know what this meant. Then in the November we had to rush her to hospital. She was passing out in the back of our car and her eyes were rolling in her head.

“Doctors at Torbay Hospital told us she had Type 1 diabetes and was suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis (also known as DKA), a life-threatening emergency. Abbi spent two days in the high-dependency unit but she could so easily have died.

“I had heard of diabetes, but never appreciated the seriousness of it and didn’t recognise the symptoms. Never in my wildest dreams had I heard of DKA. I needed to know, and I didn’t. Other people need to know. That is something I feel passionate about."

Our 4 Ts campaign highlights the four key symptoms of Type 1 diabetes in children and young people.

“If I can help, even just by swimming a few lengths in a pool, then I will do that. Because my daughter is worth it. She is my inspiration and driving force. The battles she faces each and every day to manage her diabetes push me to do better for her.”

Swim22 is the perfect challenge if you want to get fitter at your own pace and in your own time.

You can swim in your local pool alone or, better still, get your family, friends and colleagues involved, and you can split the 22 miles between you.

Our dedicated team will be on hand to support you from start to finish.

If you are feeling inspired, why not sign up to Swim22?

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