Charity founder cancels Channel swim after suffering long Covid

Stacey Turner in training for her Channel swim before being hit by Covid.

Stacey Turner in training for her Channel swim before being hit by Covid. - Credit: Stacey Turner

The founder of a mental health awareness charity has revealed how long Covid has scuppered her plans for a cross-Channel swim.

Stacey Turner of St Albans-based It's OK To Say, was in training at Westminster Lodge to compete a relay swim from Dover to Calais when she fell ill with coronavirus on Boxing Day.

She told her story to the Herts Ad: "On the morning of December 29, I woke to a positive Covid result for my household. My concerns all along had been for my nine year old daughter, Emily, as she is asthmatic.  

"I was never scared because I never really knew how ill I was, so I focused on each day as a singular challenge of healing with the help of daily messages and phone calls from my friends and supporters.

"But my body had other other ideas and I was ill for over two months. My recovery since then has been slow and despite being healthy again, I now have an inhaler due to the long-term damage of Covid.

"It’s now Emily who sits with me watching to ensure I use my inhaler correctly: 'Careful mummy, you don’t want to get dizzy'.  

"The toll of Covid has a lasting impact which I know many other households feel. We aren’t trying to resume life, but instead adapt to our new ways as we emerge from the pandemic. We’ve changed, grown and have had to make decisions in the best interests of our mental health and well-being.  

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"I tried everything to be able to swim the English Channel this summer, however in the end, I’ve had to face facts that it’s just not going to be possible this year. I need time to rebuild my strength and focus on my health while I drive It’s OK To Say forward.  

"I have resumed reformer Pilates and my training at Westminster Lodge and I can’t wait to feel confident in undertaking such a grand challenge.  

"Please may I take this opportunity to thank everyone for those daily healing messages and phone calls. The ongoing support I receive is wonderful and makes a difference more than you will ever know."  

Find out more about the work of It's OK To Say at