Supporter Barbara, who suffers from Fibromyalgia, has swum more than 1.5 miles to raise £800 to support our Together We Care Appeal.
Barbara Draper swimathon

Barbara Draper completed 100 lengths of her local swimming pool at Trowbridge Sports Centre in 70 minutes.

The 66-year-old said she was inspired to fundraise for Julia’s House after reading about our appeal to raise essential funds to provide care for the most seriously ill children and their families across Wiltshire.

“As soon as I saw the Together We Care Appeal in the news, I knew that I had to do something to support the charity’s work in family homes and at their hospice,” said Barbara.

“I have two married sons and four grandchildren, aged between eight and 12, who are luckily very healthy. And I thought if I had been in that position, where my children had a life-threatening illness, or if their children were in that position, I would hope there would be a local service like Julia’s House to help us.”

She said, “I used to organise regular Carers Health Checks when I worked as a doctor’s receptionist at Roundstone Surgery in Trowbridge, so I understand how important respite care breaks are, not just for the parents but for the siblings too.”

Exercise does not come easy for Barbara, who suffers from Fibromyalgia – a long term condition that causes pain all over the body. For her, swimming is a source of solace and invigoration.

“I have good days and bad days with my condition; I sleep very badly and I have aching joints,” Barbara said. “I have to stagger my exercise because of the Fibromyalgia and have to schedule in rest days, but the cold of the pool gets my endorphins going and swimming isn’t weight-bearing, so it’s a good exercise for me.”

She said, “Neither of my parents could swim, so my first experience of the pool was when my aunt took me at about seven years old. I haven’t been able to keep out of the water ever since, and if I’m having a bad day, I feel better as soon as I get back in the water.”

Julia’s House Fundraising Administrator, Nicky Clack, said: “We’re delighted that Barbara has turned her swimming passion into a fundraising challenge for Julia’s House – she did brilliantly in achieving her target of 100 lengths in just 70 minutes. The money Barbara has raised will make a big difference in helping us provide specialist respite care sessions for families of children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.”

Along with the Julia’s House team, Barbara has been supported in her challenge by her family and friends, her local Rock Choir group and the residents of Holt village where she used to live.

Find out how you can support the Julia’s House Together We Care Appeal >>