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Debbie swims 22 miles in memory of her mum


In memory of her mum who died in 2012 at the age of 68 from diabetes complications, Debbie saw first-hand the devastating effects of diabetes and decided this year she wanted to raise funds to ensure Diabetes UK can continue supporting people affected by the life long illness, she’s taking on Swim22.


  • Debbie’s mum Maggie died in 2012 from Type 2 diabetes complications
  • Saw the Swim22 challenge on Facebook and decided to join
  • Aiming to swim the length of the channel and back
  • Daughter Kiera is taking part to support mum

“My mum’s last 6 days of life were something I never want to see or go through again or think of any other family having to go through. It broke my heart.”

Diabetes Journey

Debbie’s mum Maggie lived with Type 2 diabetes and as a result had insulin injections, toes amputated, ulcers and eventually suffered a stroke which limited her mobility. Debbie says that her mum lost feeling in her legs from the knee down which left her bound to her chair and bed. After infections and being discharged from hospital with untreated ulcers that continued to get worse at home, Debbie and her sister couldn’t take seeing their mum suffering anymore and called an ambulance. Debbie was told her mum had septicaemia and couldn’t be operated on due to how ill she was.

A Marie Curie nurse supported the family and cared for Maggie for the last 6 days of her life, Debbie says “my mum’s last 6 days of life were something I never want to see or go through again or think of any other family having to go through. It broke my heart.” Debbie is part of a small family and found the experience of losing her mother incredibly difficult.


Debbie decided to join Swim22 after seeing it advertised on Facebook, she is swimming to raise awareness of how devastating diabetes can be. Debbie says more research and education is needed so people don’t have to die the undignified and painful way her mum did and wants to ensure she raises enough funds so Diabetes UK can continue supporting people with the life changing illness.

Debbie is aiming to swim an amazing 44 miles and has already swam 27.5 miles. Her daughter Kiera (9) also wanted to get involved to support her mum – aiming to swim 11 miles. Debbie says Kiera was not yet 3 when Nanny Maggie passed away so she reminds her of all the times they spent together.

Debbie says her and Kiera are both loving the challenge and continue to push themselves to swim as much as they can “I know my mum is with me through every stroke. She would be proud of me and even prouder of Kiera.”

Advice to others

Debbie’s advice to others thinking about taking part in Swim22 is “take on the challenge, it’s fun, it’s inspiring and it changes your life in many ways. I have always loved swimming but never found the time to go, I now realise I need to make time – I’m swimming 3/4 times a week. Never did I think I could swim 3 miles in 2h 30 mins. I have lost a lot of weight and feel so much stronger and so proud of myself. It has inspired me to take up open water swimming in the summer. Watch this space!”

Debbie feels “if everyone who takes part in the challenge are raising awareness and educating others about diabetes, we are winning the battle”. The quicker people see the signs of diabetes the quicker they are diagnosed and therefore be able to manage their diabetes better. Diabetes is still a big part of Debbie’s family with her brother in law being type 1.  

If you want to donate to Debbie you can do so here.

You can read more about the Swim22 challenge here.

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