Mother and son to take on 22-mile swim challenge

PUBLISHED: 19:00 04 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:24 10 March 2020

Claire Hixson with friend Laury Every are doing the 22 Challenge with Claire's 14yr old son Jack who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2018.    Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Claire Hixson with friend Laury Every are doing the 22 Challenge with Claire's 14yr old son Jack who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2018. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

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A mother and son are taking part in a swimming challenge to raise awareness of diabetes.

Jack Grant and Claire Hixson are doing the Swim22 challenge, which asks participants to swim the length of the English Channel.

The pair, from Weston, are taking part in the challenge because Jack was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes - the rare form of the condition where the body attacks the cells in the pancreas which make insulin - when he was 13 years old.

He must constantly check his blood levels, count carbohydrates in each meal and make sure his blood sugar levels are balanced.

Jack is now on a Continuous Glucose Monitoring patch (CGM), which monitors his sugar levels several times a day.

Claire Hixson said, after her son was diagnosed with diabetes, they had to learn about the disease in a short space of time.

She said: 'My son was diagnosed in September 2018, and it was a shock.

'He would get finger pricks 10 times a day to check his glucose levels.

'A couple of the girls at school in the past have gotten upset and caused a bit of drama when he has got his pen to get some blood.

'We had to learn about carb counting, which my daughter's boyfriend - who also suffers from diabetes - was good at, and he was so supportive.

'Jack has gotten quite angry and upset asking 'why did it happen to me?' As a parent you want to make your child better, but I can't do that.

'He's 14 and he's different from his mates, but this challenge will get him to focus on something more positive.'

The challenge asks for people to swim 22 miles, in 12 weeks, starting on February 22 and ending on May 22.

So far they have managed to do more than 3.2 miles each.

Claire added: 'Being diabetic is a challenge, and Jack just gets on with it.

'He has struggled 24/7 with his condition, and, despite this, he has still got on with normal life.

'We are hoping to swim two or three times a week if we can.

'The first few lengths were a bit of a struggle.

'His first swim he wanted to join our miles together, but now he wants to do it by himself, however long it takes.'

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