Spinal cord injury charity, Aspire are once again calling for all challenge-seekers to take part in the annual Aspire Channel Swim, which last year saw over 6,000 swimmers jump into pools across the country to complete the 22 mile challenge over 12 weeks.
Aspire, who provide practical help to people who have been paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury, hope to increase the number of swimmers this year to 7,000; made up of Aspire beneficiaries with spinal cord injury, those with an affiliation to the charity and the general public. For its 17th anniversary, the Aspire Channel Swim this year is estimated to be the biggest so far.
Paul Parish, Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Aspire, said:
“Many people know very little about Spinal Cord injury, when in fact in the UK alone, someone is diagnosed every eight hours and there is currently no warning, no preventative measures and no cure. It can happen to anyone at any time, and no one is prepared for how it will change their life. Aspire exists because of this and we need more and more people to join us in raising money and raising awareness.”
Aspire’s projects and programmes enable the funds raised to be utilised in an effective and practical way to help support the 40,000 people living with spinal cord injury in the UK so that they can lead fulfilled and independent lives in their own homes, in their work place and in leisure time.
Every year, the Aspire Channel Swim raises more money than the year before, with more challengers taking part. Having put a strong focus this year on how the new advertising will impact the recruitment process, Aspire hope to put a new spin on taking part in this year’s swim. With dramatic images of some of this year’s participants being doused in water, comical straplines and personalised sea-based nicknames to immerse the challengers, the charity are hoping to inspire even more of the British public to take the plunge.
Helen Gaskell, who took part in the swim last year, said:
“It’s not only for a very good cause but it’s an amazing personal challenge. To motivate yourself to get in that pool almost every day and to watch those lengths clock up gives you such a good feeling and then to know you’re helping an amazing cause is even better. Last year I met so many lovely people in the pool who saw my swimming cap and told me they were also doing the challenge, I also met people who had never done really any swimming before, they taught themselves, took it slowly and improved so much over the twelve weeks. It was very inspiring to hear and to see. I would recommend anyone to join in and do it. When you have a challenge to do, you don’t want to let anyone down so you don’t make excuses. Also, going for a swim is without a doubt the best way to start the day, so if you do have time to go in the morning, you won’t regret it and you’re guaranteed to have a great day.”
The Aspire Channel Swim is free to enter and people can choose whether they wish to take part as an individual or as part of a team, and can complete the 22-mile challenge at their local swimming pool, at their own pace.
Swimmers record their progress on an online challenge page which keeps track of where they are on their channel crossing. This page can be shared with friends, family and colleagues, encouraging them to offer support and donations.