Hi my name is Suzanne; I am a Para-swimmer from Holland-on-Sea, Tendring. Sport and physical activity has always been a family tradition for as long as I can remember. As a family we all participated in sports and outdoor activities as a group but also as individuals. At school I loved every sport and was in as many clubs and teams as possible. I have participated in three main sports though, two of which were as an able bodied athlete in Gymnastics and Running.
Then after a serious illness and deterioration of my health I became disabled. I had a tumour on my pituitary gland at the base of my brain which bled and triggered my problems. Since then I have had an acquired disability – my neurological disorder and Addison’s disease which is life threatening if not managed carefully. Whilst on holiday I realised I could still work out a way to swim using just my strong arm and strong leg. I then looked up a club and now I compete in Para-Swimming at International level. I swam in my first competitive race in 2013 and so playing catch up with younger swimmers, but I really enjoy training and competing as it gives me a lot of pleasure and achievement as well as boosting my confidence.
Swimming is like therapy, as I swim I have to focus hard on what I am doing, so forget everything else. I have also met some amazing friends in every sport I have taken part in. It has been a great tool to increase confidence for different reasons, as well as helping me manage my physical and medical conditions. On top of that it teaches self-discipline, demands hard work and determination and gets me out of the house to face the fears of my disability and promote sport to others.