GRATEFUL: Anne-Marie Howarth was swamped with offers from a social media request.
GRATEFUL: Anne-Marie Howarth was swamped with offers from a social media request.

Wheelchair user swimmer swamped with support

IT TOOK a bit of courage for Anne-Marie Howarth to put a swimsuit-clad photo of herself up on social media, but sometimes you have to take a risk to get results.

And 120 or so posts later, Anne-Marie looks like she may have found what she was looking for.

The 45-year-old, who moved to Noosa from Sydney with partner Chris, is wheelchair-bound following a 2005 motorcycle accident, and she is determined to return to peak fitness through continuing regular swimming at Main Beach.

While Noosa Surf Club has a chair with inflated wheels for people with a disability to traverse the beach and swim, it is virtually impossible to get back into it while in the water, so Anne-Marie decided to find someone who could help.

"I would like to pay someone $80 to go swimming with me at Noosa Main Beach of a weekday morning, around 7am," she posted.

With little surprise, the responses have poured in.

"(The wheelchair) floats high on the water; I can't get back into it," she told Noosa News on Wednesday.

"Other models have front wheels that dip into the water.

"(If one was available) I wouldn't need carrying - I could just swim right into it."

Partner Chris can sometimes join her and help out but, like Anne-Marie, he has an online business to run.

"And he's a lot fitter, and just swims off - I find it demoralising," she quipped.

But it looks like Anne-Marie may have found the perfect assistant, too, along with numerous back-ups and is meeting a potential candidate later this week.

And despite some offers to help her for free, Anne-Marie was determined to make it a business transaction for work done.

"It changes the dynamic (so) I'm not just asking a favour," she explained.

"I just want to get the right outcome that's flexible for (both of) us.

"People have great intentions, but they have to be there on the day."


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