Features

Laura grateful for swim discovery

How swimming classes in Crouch End have given a Haringey woman with MS “new lease of life”

Laura Clark
Laura Clark loves to swim

When Laura was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) aged 30, she was terrified about what it meant for her future.

Would her dream career in nursing be over? Would it lead to the end of her relationship? Happily both boyfriend David and the university, where she was in her final year of study, were very supportive but still she felt anxious. 

Laura knew exercise would help but thought MS, which affects her balance and vision, meant activities were off-limits. Then she found WeSwim, a class provided by Get Out Get Active (GOGA), at Park Road Pools and Fitness in Crouch End.

Laura, 41, says: “I was lucky, I ended up with a great job and a great boyfriend. David never left my side, we’re still together, and University were great.

“But, the disease still took its toll on both my physical and mental health. By 2022, I was walking with a stick or walker all the time. How could I do any exercise?”

WeSwim, funded and supported by council-run programme Get Out Get Active Haringey, is helping disabled Londoners get back in the pool, providing dedicated pool space and a team of volunteers to ensure safe and welcoming swim sessions.

Laura was hooked from her first class and says WeSwim has given her a new lease of life. “On dry land, my MS means I struggled to even walk, but in the water I’m in my element,” she says.

“Swimming at the club, I can take my time, I’m not in anyone’s way and I’m welcome which eases my anxiety, I don’t have to worry about where to leave my stick or worry if I fall.”

Laura says that the effect that the classes have on her wellbeing cannot be overstated. “I feel confident in the water and great afterwards, it doesn’t just make my day, it makes my week!

“I’m now a volunteer myself and helping other disabled people gives me endorphins too. I’m passionate about spreading that joy and helping other disabled people discover the benefits of WeSwim.”

GOGA takes place in 21 locations across the UK and is led by Activity Alliance, the national charity for disabled people in sport, to help reach more people through local and national expertise.

WeSwim Haringey takes place on Mondays 6pm–7 pm at Park Road Pools and Fitness. For more information about GOGA:
Visit
getoutgetactive.co.uk


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