Zoe’s epic swim for youngster

Zoe Clarke, set to swim twice as far as she ever has before to help 10-year-old Sophie who has cerebral palsy. EMN-160119-102323001
Zoe Clarke, set to swim twice as far as she ever has before to help 10-year-old Sophie who has cerebral palsy. EMN-160119-102323001

A Sleaford mum is preparing to do the swim of her life to help raise money to kit out the bedroom of a 10-year-old with cerebral palsy.

Zoe Clarke, 30, is a close friend of the family of Sophie Nugent, who lives in Worthing, Surrey.

The young girl suffers from Cerebral Palsy Spastic Diplegia and has needed an operation to enable her to walk. Her condition is made worse as she also experiences epileptic fits.

Now her family are trying to raise £20,000 to make the necessary adaptations for her downstairs bedroom which will only be part-funded by her local authority.

Zoe is hoping to raise at least £500 towards Sophie’s bedroom appeal by smashing her present record of 15 lengths of Sleaford Leisure Centre pool by doubling it to 30 lengths on March 1 during her usual weekly Tuesday evening session from 8.30pm-9.45pm.

This challenge will be much harder as Zoe also suffers from Cerebral Palsy Spastic Diplegia. Although she does not suffer from the fits like little Sophie, she has first hand experience of how difficult life can be.

Zoe said: “I have found myself inspired by Sophie’s attitude to life and decided to challenge myself and raise funds for the appeal.

“I have been thinking about it for the last few weeks wondering what I can do to help Sophie. I mentioned it to a friend and now she has publicised it on Facebook and it has been shared across Sleaford.”

By having a ground floor bedroom and wet room Sophie will have the independence she currently needs.

Zoe said: “I absolutely love going swimming. It is great exercise and you can just float freely. It also helps with the mobility of my limbs. I can walk short distances and try to stay out of the wheelchair.”

At the end of her 15 lengths each week the busy wife and mum is thoroughly shattered. Zoe turned 30 last year and saw that as a good number to aim for, intending to achieve the distance in the same time as her old record.

Zoe said: “I get out of the pool after 15 lengths and my legs feel like lead, so it will be an achievement for me too.”

She is currently pushing herself to improve on her best each week by five lengths in preparation. Husband Anthony and son Miles, three, are supporting her and she has had a great response via Facebook, making over £100 in donations so far.

To help Zoe give Sophie her independence you can donate online at her web fundraising page https://www.gofundme.com/mpecfka4

To find out more about Sophie, go to https://www.facebook.com/Sophies-Bedroom-Appeal-2016-105209233184847/