PARALYMPIC gold medallist Stephanie Millward MBE will be swimming 100 kilometres to raise funds for the MS Society.
The 39-year-old, who has multiple sclerosis (MS), lives with symptoms including temporary blindness, paralysis, pain, loss of bladder control, and problems with her speech.
Stephanie, who hails from Wiltshire, will be undertaking the challenge as part of the MS Society’s #100kYourWay fundraiser, which asks people to walk, run and / or cycle – or in her case swim – 100k to raise vital funds for those living with MS.
“I was diagnosed with MS just days after my 18th birthday. At the time, I was National Swimming Champion for 100m Backstroke, competing all over the world and preparing to be selected for the 2000 Olympic Games. MS ended that dream and turned my ‘perfect life’ into a living nightmare, where I struggled daily with the condition itself as well as others linked to it, like depression, blindness and obesity.”
Stephanie made a powerful comeback as a Para-Swimmer in 2008 and has now successfully represented Team GB at the Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympics Games. Although she still struggles with MS symptoms, she has also won over 700 swimming medals, including two Gold medals in Brazil at the last Games. She continues to train in the hope of being selected for her 4th Games in Tokyo, now scheduled for August 2021.
The Paralympian, who is also an Ambassador for the MS Society, is one of 130,000 people living with MS in the UK. The condition damages nerves in the body and makes it harder to do everyday things like walk, talk, eat and think. It can be relentless, painful, and disabling.
“With so many key fundraising events cancelled this year due to Covid-19, the MS Society has lost an estimated £10 million, which has significantly affected the vital support it can provide. But the charity has done incredible work to keep things moving forward. To show my support, help raise some funds and hopefully encourage others to get involved, I’ve pledged to swim 100 kilometres at the University of Bath pool – and I hope to complete my challenge in just nine weeks!”
“Please help and donate where you can – or take part yourselves! Together we can ensure the MS Society is able to provide critical and timely support to everyone who needs it at this difficult time.”
Martin Mears, Head of Community and Events at the MS Society, says:
“We know lots of people in our community are disappointed they can’t fundraise the way they normally would this summer, which is why we created #100kYourWay. Many people with MS have been severely impacted by the Covid-19 crisis and this is a different way to help them, and help us make sure no one has to face MS alone.”
Sign up to #100kYourWay today at www.mssociety.org.uk/100kyourway