Olivia-Rose has a rare genetic condition called Loeys-Dietz which affects her joints and heart muscle.
Livvy had tried normal swimming classes a number of times in the past but the lessons always went too fast for her and part of her condition is that her skin is very translucent and thin, as such she gets cold very quickly and waiting for her time to swim in her class meant she was getting very cold, and then her joints began to hurt even more.
Livvy’s condition means that some days her joints hurt more than others; she is fairly restricted on what sports she can take part in, no contact or running sports. We have always been told that swimming is a really good sport for her to do as it won’t hurt her joints and of course its non-impact, however we really didn’t know how we could get her swimming.
In year 3 her class had swimming lessons at Lewes Leisure Centre. Livvy desperately wanted to take part so she went along and the teacher agreed that even if she just dipped her toe in the water and came out, it was fine for her to try. After a few lessons one of the teachers at the leisure centre told her teacher about yourselves and suggested we could get in touch as you might be able to help.
Livvy swims at the moment on a Saturday afternoon with Cath at the Dolphin Leisure Centre in Haywards Heath. She actually hasn’t swam for a while as Winter has kicked in and her joints are always so much worse in the cold weather, but Cath is very flexible and doesn’t mind at at all if Livvy can’t make a week.
Since she has been with Cath we have seen her go from being unable to swim to gaining her 25metre & 50metre badges. Livvy is beyond proud of this, she has never received a badge for any sport and this means a great deal to her, and importantly the confidence it gives her in the water.
Livvy seems to spend so much time being told she can’t take part in something, to be able to actually do her own lesson and see the progress she is making has been amazing for Livvy.
Nicola, Livvy’s Mum