Sunday, 19 September 2021

Woman with arthritic hip to attempt 26.2 miles for charity

A WOMAN from Woodcote with an arthritic hip plans to swim a marathon for charity — trained by her teenage

A WOMAN from Woodcote with an arthritic hip plans to swim a marathon for charity — trained by her teenage daughter.

Anne-Marie MacMillan, 48, who cannot run or cycle because of her condition, hopes to swim 26.2 miles in 31 days.

She will have to complete more than 2,100 lengths of the pool at The Club at Mapledurham as she raises money for Power International, a charity which works to improve the lives of disabled people in developing countries.

Mrs MacMillan, who is the charity’s fund-raising manager, came up with the idea while swimming at the club last month.

She told her husband David, who immediately pledged £100. Her 13-year-old daughter Izzy, who attends Cranford House School in Moulsford, is a keen swimmer and agreed to train her. Mrs MacMillan, of Deanwood Close, will start her challenge on July 1 and aims to complete it by the end of the month. She will swim five or six days a week and attempt at least 80 lengths each time.

Mrs MacMillan, who hopes to raise £2,000, said: “I used to do a lot of running but I can’t do that any more because of my hip.

“However, I wanted to raise money for the charity and as I was having a bit of a splash around, it dawned on me that swimming was one way I could still do a marathon.

“I decided to put the plan in motion straightaway before I came to my senses and changed my mind.

“As soon as I told my family, David went straight online to make a donation and Izzy said, ‘right, we have to get you fit then’. Most people who know me have been surprised but very supportive. One parent at Izzy’s school said ‘you’re absolutely bonkers’ but agreed to sponsor me.

“I’m going to be working very hard this month because I’m nowhere near as fit as I would like to be. I have to balance the challenge with working full-time, so I shall have to survive July with the help of Red Bull, Ibuprofen and sheer determination.”

Mrs MacMillan worked in computer sales for 25 years before starting a new career in the charity sector two years ago.

She joined Power International earlier this year after spending a month volunteering with disabled people in South Africa. She has suffered from osteoarthritis in her left hip for five years and is likely to need a replacement soon. To avoid putting too much strain on the joint, she will swim using breast stroke arm technique and butterfly leg technique. Staff at the club have been coaching her.

She said: “It is quite a daunting prospect because it isn’t like I’m a club swimmer or anything. I learned to swim as a child but never did it properly — people used to say that I swam like Lassie.

“However, I wanted to pick something that really was a challenge so that people would sponsor me. Knowing that people are sponsoring me and knowing where the money is going will inspire me to push ahead with it.”

To sponsor her, visit macmillan

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