Gillian Castle

Gill SWAM the Channel solo!

Fundraising for Chameleon Buddies
£36,838
raised
by 1015 supporters
Chameleon Buddies

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1199430
We support women with birth injuries/stomas to empower them to live a fulfilling life

Story

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I am swimming solo to France, 21 miles as the seagull flies, but more like 26 miles in total, in August 2023. I will only be wearing a swimming costume, silicone hat and goggles. 

I have a permanent stoma (colostomy) as a result of a missed 4th degree tear, recto-vaginal fistula and perineal abcess, during the birth of my only child in October 2011. I was diagnosed with PTSD, post-natal depression, severe anxiety, hyper vigilance and I struggled for many years to get my life back on track. I was medically retired from my job as a police officer due to my physical and mental health problems in 2013.  

I founded the charity Chameleon Buddies in 2022 after hearing of the difficulties that women in Kenya face who have stomas as a result of fistulas - just like I had. The difference is that the Kenyan girls have limited, or no, access to stoma supplies.I fundraised to send stoma supplies to the women in need. Chameleon Buddies has been established to enhance this initial support, by focusing on improving the ostomy services for the women. Stoma nurses and educational workshops will form part of this outreach work in Kenya. 

It is also hugely important to me to raise awareness of the plight of women in this country who are left with life changing injuries after having a baby. It's a lonely place to find yourself, and it is very much a taboo topic. Similarly, ostomies are stigmatised. Chameleon Buddies runs peer support groups in Northumberland for women adapting to lifechanging circumstances following childbirth or stoma surgery. 

I want to show that we can do anything we want! There is always hope. 

I'm no established endurance swimmer but I'm up for the challenge to be the first person with a stoma to swim the Channel solo!


About the charity

Chameleon Buddies

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1199430
We promote social inclusion among people living with a stoma or childbirth injury, both in the UK and in Kenya. We are passionate advocates for providing hope for people struggling to live with lifechanging injuries’ following childbirth, aiming to help women to adapt to these changes.

Donation summary

Total raised
£36,837.46
+ £6,842.86 Gift Aid
Online donations
£36,837.46
Offline donations
£0.00

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