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Debbie's story: I'm swimming 22 miles for Diabetes UK in memory of my mum

Debbie and daughter doing Swim22


Debbie's mum passed away from diabetes complications.

If everyone who takes part in the challenge are raising awareness and educating others about diabetes, we are winning the battle.

Debbie saw first-hand the devastating effects of diabetes when her mum died in diabetes complications in 2012. She decided this year she wanted to raise funds to ensure Diabetes UK can continue supporting people affected by the life long illness, so she’s taking on Swim22.

Journey with diabetes

Debbie's journey with diabetes

  • 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


Debbie's mum's battle with diabetes


Debbie’s mum Maggie lived with type 2 diabetes and as a result had toes amputated, ulcers and eventually suffered a stroke which limited her mobility. After her mum lost feeling in her legs from the knee down, it left her bound to her chair and bed. After infections and being discharged from hospital with untreated ulcers she 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 six days of her life. Debbie says Debbie is part of a small family and found the experience of losing her mother incredibly difficult.

Diabetes UK and me

Taking part in Swim22

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. She 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 swum 27.5 miles. Her daughter Kiera (9) also wanted to get involved to support her mum and is aiming for 11 miles. Kiera was not yet 3 when Nanny Maggie passed away so Debbie 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. 


Advice to others

"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 and I’m swimming 3/4 times a week. Never did I think I could swim 3 miles in 2 hours and 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!”

"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 as her brother- in-law has type 1 diabetes.


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

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