Following a T2 full spinal break in Might 2001, Paula Craig was left paralyzed from the waist down after being knocked off her bike. The accident hasn’t stopped her achievements in each her police and sporting profession. Her newest problem and accomplishment takes on the type of swimming the 21 miles of the English Channel as a part of a 6-person relay workforce, all with out carrying a wetsuit. She is the primary particular person with an entire spinal twine damage ever full this.
The workforce set off from Dover at 02:48 am on the 4th of August 2022 and have been swimming for 14 hours and three minutes, with Craig herself finishing two 1-hour lengthy swims. The date marks the twenty first anniversary of Craig’s paralyses, with the workforce aiming to finish the problem in 2021 but suspending the swim attributable to poor climate.
Craig was awarded an MBE in 2005 for her work within the Metropolitan Police. Sport has all the time been considered one of her passions. Regardless of the Channel Swim being arguably essentially the most formidable of Craig’s swimming endeavors she beforehand took on The Solent in 2014 and The Darkish 10k in 2019; these are each open water occasions. Equally, when her accident occurred, Craig was a Marathon Runner coaching for the GB Nationwide Triathlon. In a press launch, Craig made it clear that “she had no concept what the long run would maintain [as her] life modified instantly.”
In addition to now being the primary particular person paralyzed from the waist all the way down to swim the Channel, Craig is the one particular person to have ever run and pushed (in her wheelchair) the London Marathon.
What does it Take to Swim the Channel?
Craig says, “to mark the anniversary of the accident and to rejoice my achievements of the previous 20 years, I shall be taking over the waves, the chilly water, and the jellyfish” however what does it truly imply to swim the English Channel efficiently? The primary recorded Channel swim was in 1875; since then, there have been 1,731 profitable crossings. Battling with changeable seas, transport lanes, and the usually below-freezing temperatures, that is no straightforward problem. For a swim to be formally acknowledged swimmers can’t put on a wetsuit and as an alternative are solely allowed a swimming hat, goggles, nostril clip, earplugs,and a dressing up.
Craig accomplished this problem to lift cash for the spinal twine damage charity Aspire. The charity was based in 1983 and helps the 50,000 folks residing with Spinal Twine damage within the UK by supporting them from “damage to independence.” The charity affords sensible assist to these in want. For Craig, ”the help and alternatives offered by Aspire within the days and months after my damage have been invaluable by way of my psychological and bodily well being.” With somebody being paralyzed each 4 hours with a spinal twine damage, the charity acknowledges the significance of its work and desires to lift consciousness for what they do, particularly as the vast majority of spinal twine accidents are within the age group of 21 to 30.
Craig mentioned she hoped to “elevate much-needed funds in order that Aspire can proceed its important work” and with the pandemic hitting charities onerous, these like Aspire are left struggling for cash. In 2020/21, Aspire’s Leisure Centre funds fell by £1.25m attributable to restrictions and closures, while their Housing rental earnings fell by £50,000. With out these funds, charities will proceed to combat the truth that they’re unable to ship their unimaginable work and providers as successfully as within the pre-COVID 19 world.
Craig has spoken publicly since her accident about how Aspire has helped her:
Naming her workforce Aspire Mutts as an ode to her Cockerpoo Archie, Craig has raised over £23,000 on her JustGiving site.
With charities equivalent to Aspire needing funding greater than ever, what’s the Cultural Significance of Donating to Charity?