Jade is taking on Swim22 2018, her fourth – and toughest – challenge for Diabetes UK yet. Jade will be swimming 22 miles, the breadth of the Channel, in 12 weeks, at her local pool.
My name is Jade Dunkley, I am 24 years old and from a little village in Northamptonshire. I am very fortunate not to have diabetes personally, however many members of my family do, which is why 7 years ago I decided to become a charity fundraiser and do at least one Charity Challenge each year.
I have now done 3 challenges for Diabetes UK, the first doing a 15,000ft Skydive in 2015, a 418ft Abseil in 2016 and a Wing Walk this year. After the previous challenges being in the air, I thought this year would be good to have my feet firmly on the ground, well in a pool which is close enough, for the Swim 22 challenge!
For 2018 I have decided to take part in the Swim 22 challenge as I believe it will be my toughest challenge yet.
When I was younger, I was scared of the slightest splash in the face, going out of my depth and drowning and so didn’t learn to swim until only 4 years ago at the age of 20 when I joined some adult swimming classes. These classes helped grow my confidence massively and eventually, I learnt how to tread water and learnt several different swimming techniques.
Completing this challenge would mean a lot to me, as in 2004 my mum sadly lost her life. She had Diabetes as well as the same water related fears I had when I was younger and therefore couldn’t swim, so I am taking part in this challenge in memory of her.
I’m very excited to start the challenge but also slightly nervous as I know what a big challenge it’ll be for me. Although I am now more confident in a swimming pool, my swimming techniques still need a lot of work and my stamina certainly needs a boost if I am to complete this challenge in 12 weeks which I am very determined to do. At the moment I can only manage around 15 lengths of the pool a session which would mean in order to complete the 1,416 required, I will have to swim everyday.
Hopefully once I have dug out my swimming goggles and started training, the number of lengths each session will increase and therefore I’ll hopefully be able to have at least one rest day each week of the challenge – wish me luck!
I hope my story inspires someone else who is thinking of doing this challenge, who may have a fear of water or who may not be the best of swimmers because there is no better feeling than achieving something, you never thought you would.