I had no idea that 2016 was going to be my year of change. At the beginning of this year, I was a smoker and was carrying more weight than was comfortable. As someone who is not even yet 30 and loves to play sport, this was not a great combination. I knew I had to start slowly so I tackled the fags first and six months in, I’m no longer a smoker. But that didn’t stop me from struggling like a granny to get out of a chair. It was time to conquer the fat.

Obviously, the perfect place to plot how you are going to get fit and healthy is over many pints at the pub. I’m crazy, but I’m not crazy enough to think I could become the next Paula Radcliffe, so I took running off the table.

That’s when I blurted out, ‘I guess I could swim the length of the English Channel!

That rash statement was made without considering the following:

 

  1. It involved wearing a swimsuit in public
  2. I’m not a confident swimmer
  3. I am terrified of putting my head under water

But I said it, and now I’m making it happen.

Thankfully, I’m not completely on my own as my friend Andy and my partner Nick have helped me get into the pool. Also, the good folk of Sportspark UEA are supporting my mission, as well as Front Page Media (PR) and Joe Lenton (Photographer). Sportspark swimming coach Hannah is putting me through my paces every week and I can see a big improvement. Hopefully, by lap 1417, I’ll have my breathing for the front crawl nailed!

I didn’t want to do this just for me, though. But with so many worthy causes, it was tough to select a charity to raise funds for.

But my mother has always said, ‘Go with your heart’ so that’s why I chose Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

Like many people, I’m horrified and heartbroken by the plight of people fleeing their war-torn countries across the Mediterranean. Millions of people so desperate for a new life that they’ll risk the most precious thing they have. Families, torn apart by war and conflict. It’s unimaginably tragic.

I can’t solve these problems, but I can do my little bit to help a charity who is doing great work for the world’s most vulnerable people.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is the world’s leading emergency medical humanitarian aid organisation. They provide emergency assistance to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics and natural or man-made disasters, without discrimination and irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation. They work in over 60 countries and go to the places where others cannot or choose not to go.

Please help me to support them, by supporting me through my challenge.

Donate today.

www.justgiving.com/barbara-channel-challenge