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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Woman defies the odds to complete Cumbrian swim

A Cumbrian woman who struggles to walk due to a rare muscle, bone and brain disease has defied the odds by completing the Great North Swim.

Carol Blanco photo
Carol Blanco with friend Luke, left, and her son Alex

Carol Blanco, 45, originally from Wigton, built up the courage to swim the half-mile course in Windermere last Saturday despite only being able to walk a few paces unaided and needing help to carry a cup of tea.

The former nurse decided to do the swim to raise money and awareness for the Brain Research Trust which has supported her throughout having the condition, known as inclusion body myopathy with early-onset paget disease and frontotemporal dementia – something that affects just a handful of people in the world.

The genetic condition, which took the life of Carol’s dad John, causes muscle weakness, bone pain and dementia.

Carol, who now lives in Southchurch, an area of Southend in Essex, completed the swim with her son Alex, 21 and a family friend.

Her family still live in the area with mum Heather Rosbotham and brother Robert living in the Sandsfield Park area of Carlisle.

“She can’t walk at all and she was the one contestant who got the biggest applause when she came out of the lake,” said Heather. “When she was younger she used to swim in Wigton and Carlisle swimming clubs, it was about the only thing she could do.”

Robert added: “She found it very hard but she wasn’t the last one out of the water.”

Anyone wanting to donate to the cause email events@brt.org.uk.

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