Next Saturday on the 20th of July, Susan Simmons will be taking to the waters of Lake Cowichan to swim the 34-kilometre length of it. The Victoria woman, who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS), hopes to raise money for MS research. At the same time, she also hopes to inspire others with the same condition as her to be more active in slowing down the progress of MS.

The 48-year-old provincial government employee along with her friend, Alex Cape, will attempt to swim from Heather Campground to Lakeview Park in the Town of Lake Cowichan. She estimates that the total time taken will be between ten to eleven hours. She stated that she would like people who suffer from MS to realise that despite the condition, it is not only possible to exercise and perform physical activities, but there is a chance of slowing its progression too. “I want to stay healthy, but it’s also important to me that people with MS see that exercise is something that can help,” she said in an interview.

She went on to mention that she was diagnosed 20 years ago. Till this very day, the most severe symptoms that she faced was going temporarily blind in the left eye, twice. Aside from that, other symptoms also include severe tingling and numbness in her hands and feet as well as chronic fatigue. However, approximately eight years back when Susan took up swimming, her symptoms started to slowly reduced. As heat is the trigger for her MS symptoms, remaining in the water allowed her to cope well against overheating.

As of now, her symptoms have receded and she credits both swimming as well as her devotion that led to the improvement. When she first began, 20 laps of the pool would required her to take a nap of between two to three hours thereafter. Now, that rest is no longer required. In fact, she is an accomplished long-distance swimmer. Apart from that, she is also conducting swimming workouts for people with MS. According to Susan, one of her students initially could barely walk when she showed up a couple of months ago. Now, that same student is able to walk in the water and is continuing to improve on a daily basis. “The pool for people with MS, especially when you are not mobile, is great. For [the woman who can walk in the water], it’s a place where she has freedom,” Susan explained.

Taking up swimming not only enables you to learn a new skill. It can also help to improve certain conditions and let you live a healthier lifestyle. If you would like to find out more about swimming lessons in Singapore, check out Happy Fish Swim School.