Jeanette Parkes, a retired special needs teacher from Accrington, has decided to take part in this year’s Great Manchester Swim on Saturday 4 July to raise money on behalf of Macmillan Cancer Support, for a cause very close to her heart. 

Jeanette and her family first became aware of Macmillan Cancer Support over 28 years ago when Jeanette’s sister, Marie, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32 years old. She had a Macmillan nurse called Maureen who cared for her and the whole family. Sadly Marie passed away two years after her diagnosis. 

Jeanette and her sister Barbara wanted to do something to keep Marie’s memory alive. So they joined the Hyndburn Committee for Macmillan Cancer Support. Over the next 20 years Barbara worked really hard for Macmillan, and Jeanette was on and off the committee but always supporting.  In a tragic turn of events, six years ago, just before retirement Barbara was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer and she too was looked after by a Macmillan nurse, this time called Eileen.  Barbara's cancer spread to her liver and at the age of 61 years old the family lost her too.  

Once more Jeanette wanted to preserve both her sisters’ memories and took her place back on the committee.  Six years later she’s still there and with the generous help of one of the committee members, Sarah, an Eddie Stobart truck was named the Marie Barbara after her sisters.

With the help of Jeanette’s daughter Amy, who did the Great Manchester Swim two years ago, Jeanette will also be taking on the 1 mile distance as a personal challenge for her upcoming 60th birthday.

Jeanette told us why she chose to take on the Great Manchester Swim: 

“I think setting yourself a "challenge" in life as the years creep on is a good way to stay motivated and a different way to raise money. 

“My family are all so supportive and never tire of all the events I ask them to support. This time the money we have raised has mainly come from my hubby and I asking for donations instead of pressies for our Pearl wedding and my 60th birthday and we are now over the £1,000 mark.

“I have been for a lesson, bought a wetsuit and last week had a practice swim at Salford Quays.  It was hard and windy but at least I found out where my wetsuit rubs!”

From everyone at Great Swim we wish Jeanette all the very best of luck for her big day, we think you’re amazing!
 
Find out more about the Great Manchester Swim by clicking here