Mum of two Victoria Allen from Brighton is taking part in the Aspire Channel Swim because she has struggled to come to terms with her disability. She went from being fully-abled and working as a nurse to not being able to walk very far.
Victoria doesn’t feel like herself any more, she has days when she is unable to do something as simple as have a wash and she often has lie down while her children play happily around her. Victoria is taking part in the challenge to prove to herself that she can still do some things, she said: “I can’t walk very far but I can swim a long way.”
Victoria is registered as disabled after having back trouble twelve years ago when she was pregnant with her first child. The problem got progressively worse and Doctors believe it was when she was in labour with her daughter six years later that led her to be completely disabled: “We don’t actually know what caused the disability, I wish I could give you a really cool story about a police chase or my parachute didn’t open but it’s all very boring. They think that it happened during my second labour but they can’t be sure.” She said.
Victoria will need help getting in and out of the pool and have to have her morphine readily available on the pool-side. Her biggest focus is her children and she wants to do the Aspire challenge for them: “It’s very important, especially for my younger one, who doesn’t know me really any different from how she sees me now. She needs to see that even if you have got a disability you can still do things. Okay, you might not be able to do everything and certain things that your friends do, but you can still live a great life.”
Victoria will be happy if she just completes the challenge. She will go at her own pace and advises first-timers not worry about what other people are doing.
Victoria’s children are her registered young carers, she describes them as amazing and says that they look really after her: “I feel guilty being like I am. All I want to do is kick a ball around with my boy and dance with my little girl. They really are the best kids ever.”
Victoria feels very lucky to have so much support around her and after the Channel swim she will continue to push herself. Thinking about her goals and challenges for the future, she said: “I’d love to walk the Great Wall of China, or go along it, if I could swim it I’d do that.” But most importantly, Victoria is getting married in February 2019 and her dream would be to walk down the aisle unaided – with no walking frame and no walking stick: “If I could do that I’d be happy.”
The Aspire Channel Swim kicked off on the 11th September and will run right through to 4th December, uniting over 6000 participants who have all pledged their support to help those affected by a spinal cord injury.