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Guy’s Hospital physiotherapist from Tower Hamlets swims English Channel after dislocating both shoulders

PUBLISHED: 09:36 21 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:34 21 September 2018

Samantha Poulsen, just after completing the English Channel swim in under 13 hours at the start of September. Picture:  Ryan Shoesmith

Samantha Poulsen, just after completing the English Channel swim in under 13 hours at the start of September. Picture: Ryan Shoesmith

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A physiotherapist from Tower Hamlets swam the English Channel after being inspired by her patients.

Samantha raised more than £5,000 for Guy's and St Thomas' charity. Picture:  Ryan ShoesmithSamantha raised more than £5,000 for Guy's and St Thomas' charity. Picture: Ryan Shoesmith

Samantha Poulsen, who looks after cancer patients on Blundell Ward at Guy’s Hospital, completed the 21-mile swim in 12 hours and 40 minutes.

The 27-year-old, who’s originally from Australia, said she was inspired by her patients to do the challenge.

She said: “I have never come across a more resilient and inspiring group of patients. I’m blown away by their determination on a daily basis so I couldn’t think of a better group of people to fundraise for.”

Samantha signed up for the swim in March 2017, but dislocated both her shoulders while surfing on holiday a few months later.

Samantha had to battle an injured shoulder, freezing water and thousands of jellyfish during the 21-mile swim. Picture:  Ryan ShoesmithSamantha had to battle an injured shoulder, freezing water and thousands of jellyfish during the 21-mile swim. Picture: Ryan Shoesmith

She’s spent the last 18 months training up to six days a week, swimming for almost four hours at a time.

“I grew up by the beach so I’ve always been a long distance swimmer and thrived off crazy challenges,” she said.

“Jumping into the water at Dover was pretty surreal and terrifying but I just got on with it. I kept thinking it was such a privilege to be able to do this.”

Samantha completed the swim in agony after her shoulder gave out four hours into the swim. She said she was lucky not to get stung by the thousands of jellyfish below the surface.

Samantha was cheered on by her housemate, coach, and parents, who flew over from Australia. Picture:  Ryan ShoesmithSamantha was cheered on by her housemate, coach, and parents, who flew over from Australia. Picture: Ryan Shoesmith

She was supported by her coach, housemate, and parents, who’d travelled from Australia to watch.

“Failure was never an option. I had so many people supporting me and the cause is so close to my heart. I committed the last year and a half of my life to this challenge so I had to keep going.

“The last two hours were a real battle because the tide was so strong. I could see France was really close which was heart-breaking because it didn’t seem to get any bigger.

“I couldn’t believe it when I finally made it, I cried because I was so happy. Despite it being so tough and being in so much pain with my shoulder, I wouldn’t change any of it.”

Samantha, a physiotherapist at  Guy's Hospital in Southwark, looks after patients who've had head and neck surgey for cancer. Picture: Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation TrustSamantha, a physiotherapist at Guy's Hospital in Southwark, looks after patients who've had head and neck surgey for cancer. Picture: Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Samantha raised more than £5,200 for Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity. To donate, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SamanthaPoulsen.

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