Disabled consultant wants to make splash for charity despite not being able to swim

Olympian Louis Smith

A long-time sufferer of rheumatoid arthritis, Husnara Begum, wants to raise money for Versus Arthritis, a charity that provided her help during the Covid pandemic and decided to combine it with facing her fear of the deep end.

She told the Times: “I have never learned to swim, but I thought – why not give it a go?

“I need to wait for the Covid situation to settle down. I think I’m going to start after the school half-term holidays. When the weather is a bit warmer, it will be easier.

“My plan is to use some sort of flotation device because I have never learned to swim. It will be my husband, I suspect, who will be chaperoning me in the pool, because he’s a strong swimmer.”

Ms Begum said she wanted to highlight the help Versus Arthritis has provided her as well as raise awareness of arthritis, a disease Ms Begum developed at age nine that affects her joints and leaves her in chronic pain. She also suffers from a compromised immune system from medications she has to take.

“Someone with arthritis is someone living with a compromised immune system,” she stressed, adding: “I had a Covid antibody test last week, and the antibody levels are not very high.”

Despite all the obstacles, and her fear of the deep end, Ms Begum is determined to swim at least one length by May.

“It’s only one length,” she said, adding that with thousands of pounds already pledged on her JustGiving page, she was ‘kind of committed to it now’.

Ms Begum’s JustGiving fundraiser is called Husnara’s Big Swimming Challenge.

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