Brave Jenny beats odds to help others

By Kevin Unitt Thursday 24 January 2013 Updated: 25/01 15:59

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Swimming coach and epilepsy sufferer Jenny Chapman from Kings High has overcome all the odds. Picture by Jon Mullis 04.013.020.leam.jm1. Inset: Jenny in action coaching young swimmers.

A TEENAGER from Warwick who lost all memory of her swimming skills after suffering epilepsy has recovered to become a talented coach.

Jenny Chapman was diagnosed with epilepsy aged just seven, and at 14 found herself in hospital, unable to walk and with various memory losses, including how to swim.

To regain her confidence and skills she shadowed coaches at the Leamington Spa Amateur Swimming club and now two years on she is at the poolside teaching others to become better swimmers.

The 16-year-old coaches swimmers at the club, younger swimmers at her school - King’s High in Warwick – and also works with disabled swimming group Leamington Dolphins.

Jenny has been nominated as a 'champion' for the Epilepsy Champions awards hosted by national charity Young Epilepsy, which recognises the dedication of young sufferers. The ceremony will take place in London on March 26.

She told the Observer: "I am grateful for all the support I have received from family, coaches and my school, and also to Mike Hartwell at Leamington Swimming Club for nominating me for an award.

"It shows that epilepsy doesn't have to define who you are and what you can achieve. You can do anything."

Her proud mother Rosemary said Jenny had always had a love of sport and in particular swimming.

She added: "Meeting Rebecca Adlington at a young age, reading about Dai Greene’s management of his epilepsy and attending the Paralympic Games have all inspired her to give something back to a sport which she thoroughly enjoys despite the difficulties she has experienced.

“Jenny has never allowed being epileptic to stop her and wants other young people to be encouraged to follow their dreams."

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Jenny Chapman in full coaching mode. (s)

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