"A year ago I had a free health check offered by the Nuffield Health Club I belong to in Wexham. I knew I was overweight, despite swimming and walking most days, but was surprised when my blood sugar level was high - 12.2 - and I went to see my doctor.
After various tests, I was told I had Type 2 diabetes, although at that time I had no other symptoms whatsoever. I attended four afternoons of talks/discussions run by the NHS and decided that for as long as possible I would try to control the diabetes by diet and exercise.
I started to swim and walk more, and even started 'jogging' in the swimming pool. This all had a beneficial effect on my health and when I went back eight months later to re-do the tests, all the results had improved including my blood sugar level which, when I check it on Monday mornings, is now usually between 6.5 and 7.5. So when I saw that DiabetesUK was doing the sponsored Swim22, I thought this will increase my motivation. I practised swimming a mile some mornings which is 80 lengths of my pool. As I normally had only swum 20 or so lengths, to begin with I found it hard. On the 22 August I started the swim proper by swimming half a mile on the first six mornings, then a mile a day and before I knew it, on the 21 September, less than a month after I had started, I had only half a mile left. I told the rest of the 'dawn patrol' who swim with me, and who gave me so much encouragement throughout, that I would finish at 8.10am that Wednesday. When it came to the last length, I must have swum twice as fast as they all cheered and held a banner saying "Well done 22 Miles" made out of pyjama tape and an old, cut up teatowel, and then presented me with bouquets of flowers and cards. The club itself also gave me presents including a voucher for a back, neck and shoulder massage - I will enjoy that! Now I have to collect in the money - I thought I would raise maybe £100, but through the generosity of everyone concerned, it is likely to be three or four times this amount if you include Gift Aid. I am so pleased I have done it for many reasons: I have raised money for an organisation that helps me online if I have any queries; I have raised awareness of Diabetes UK and my health issues; and I have motivated myself to increase my fitness level - very important for a diabetic.
To keep this motivation going, I have told everyone that I will carry on swimming, but only a half a mile a day, from now on until the 22 miles becomes the 147 miles that David Walliams swam down the Thames. I won't be asking for any more money though as they have all been so generous."
Words by Anne