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Woman from Pinner to swim 22 miles for charity in Stanmore

A swimmer from Pinner is to take on the Aspire Channel Swim by attempting to complete a 22 mille-swim in over 12 weeks.

Christina Benjamin is taking on the Aspire Channel Swim at their leisure centre in Stanmore to raise funds for the charity Aspire, which supports people with Spinal Cord Injury

“On September 25 2022, I booked to swim at the Aspire Leisure Centre in Stanmore following the advice of my spinal surgeon. Whilst swimming, I noticed the banner for the Aspire Channel Swim and decided to sign up because I started having issues with my spine in January 2019 and have not been able to do things I love since then. I had my first spinal surgery in April 2021, my second in May 2022 and third in July 2022,” Said Christina.

Woman from Pinner to swim 22 miles for charity in Stanmore Harrow Online

”I am a very driven individual and always like to have a challenge or goal to work towards. After being out of action for so long I haven’t been able to set myself any fitness related challenges or goals. When I saw the banner I thought to myself ‘I wonder if it would be possible for me to complete the challenge within 10 weeks?’ I went home and did some maths to work out how many times per week I would need to swim to complete the challenge. It seemed achievable so I signed up,” she added.

Commenting on her exercise programme after the surgery, Christina said:  “My swimming journey re-started on 25th September 2022.  For me, following my surgeries, this is the only exercise I can do without causing myself additional pain. It gives me a good cardio workout and helps me maintain upper body strength. It also gets those endorphins working, which is good for my mental health.

“I like the Aspire Leisure Centre because it’s inclusive and has something for everyone.  The pool is heated so helps my back during my swims. The colder water in other pools tends to make my back seize up as soon as I start swimming. When I’m able to, I would like to get into the gym to support my ongoing rehabilitation plan.

Woman from Pinner to swim 22 miles for charity in Stanmore Harrow Online

“It means a huge amount to me to raise funds to support people with spinal cord injuries. I am fortunate to have ‘caught’ my spinal issue and have had it fixed before it turned into a spinal cord injury. Others have not been so fortunate and have had their lives changed forever which is a really tough thing to have to go through.

“It is lovely to be able to give back and support those that have had their worlds turned upside down by a spinal injury.”

Anyone wanting to sponsor Christina can do so at the Just Giving link below.  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/christina-benjamin-2022-channel-swim-118056

Katy Boyd, who manages the Aspire Channel Swim says, “Christina is one of many amazing people taking part in the challenge. The Aspire Channel Swim runs every year from September to December and challenges swimmers of all abilities to swim the distance of the Channel over a twelve-week period.

Woman from Pinner to swim 22 miles for charity in Stanmore Harrow Online

“In the past 22 years it has raised over £7 million for the charity Aspire. Anyone can take part in the challenge, regardless of ability. Next year I would love to see younger people in swim schools taking part who can achieve the distance as an individual or as a team.

“Anyone wanting more details of the 2023 swim should contact me at swim@aspire.org.uk.”