Fiona plans to ‘swim the English Channel’ for her diabetic dad

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A woman from South Tyneside aims to swim 22 miles – the equivalent of crossing the English Channel – to raise funds to help combat her father’s medical condition.

Fiona Wilkin, 32, is taking part in Swim 22 - to raise cash for Diabetes UK.

Haven Point where Fiona Wilkin will be carrying out her charity challenge.

Haven Point where Fiona Wilkin will be carrying out her charity challenge.

Her father, Trevor, has Type 1 diabetes.

A hotel receptionist at the Premier Inn, South Shields, Fiona said: “I wanted to get involved with something to support my dad, who has had diabetes for over 30 years and has recently been experiencing complications as a result.”

“My dad has always managed his diabetes quite well, but we had noticed some changes and he has been finding it difficult to keep control of his blood glucose levels.

“The past year has been challenging for our family, so I wanted to do anything I could to help.”

Type 1 diabetes develops when insulin-producing cells in the body have been destroyed and the sufferer is unable to produce any insulin.

It is treated with daily insulin doses and is the most common form of diabetes diagnosed in children.

Symptoms include weight loss, increased thirst, tiredness and needing to use the toilet more frequently.

Diabetes UK’s Swim22 challenge gives people three months to swim 22 miles in their local pool, either by themselves or by splitting the distance with teammates.

Fiona, who is getting married in the summer, added: “I haven’t been swimming in a long time, but I used to be a pool lifeguard so I’m hoping I’ll get back into the swing of things easily.”

Her challenge will take place between February 22 and May 22, and she will have to complete 1,416 lengths at Haven Point in South Shields.

Lara Dobson, Diabetes UK fundraising manager, said: “We are delighted that Fiona will be diving into the pool and making a splash for Diabetes UK, and look forward to following her progress throughout the challenge.”

To sponsor Fiona visit www.diabetes.org.uk/swim22.