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Scottish walkers' Everest trek raises funds for Diabetes UK

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Two keen walkers from Scotland have climbed an impressive 17,601 feet to Base Camp of Mount Everest to raise funds for Diabetes UK.

Sarah Marchbank from Edinburgh completed the epic Himalayan trek in 18 days in memory of her sister, Emma, who died of Type 1 diabetes complications three years ago. While Brian Thomson from Hamilton has been inspired to successfully complete his fifth challenge on behalf of the charity by his 17 year old daughter Hayley who was diagnosed with Type 1 when she was six.  

Sarah said:  “Emma was a talented researcher at Newcastle University. She was diagnosed diabetic aged just 4 but never let diabetes rule her life and loved to travel. It was her dream to visit the Himalayas and trek to Base Camp but she sadly died suddenly without warning in August 2014 aged 46 from complications from her Type 1.

"I decided to trek there on her behalf. Physically and emotionally it was tough but I am convinced Emma was there in spirit with me every step of the way. It seemed fitting at the end of the expedition to drop a photo of her into the water from one of the many suspension bridges I crossed so that a little piece of her remains in Nepal.” 

Sarah raised an impressive £1,700 from the trek for Diabetes UK which takes the total amount donated to Diabetes UK since Emma’s death to well over £6,000. Anyone wishing to contribute can do so at Sarah's Just Giving page.

Brian – who was named Fundraiser of the Year at Diabetes Scotland Inspire Awards 2017 - raised over £9,000 for Diabetes UK from the trek putting his total raised for the charity over five sponsored events at almost £20,000. 

Brian said:  “As well as Type 1 diabetes, my daughter Hayley also has a learning disability which means she has to rely on us to make sure her blood sugar levels are under control. However, in the last six months she has come on leaps and bounds, overcoming a phobia of needles to start doing her own injections under our supervision. But I would like to see more information and training given to schools as there have several instances over the years where Hayley’s blood glucose has been low and teachers didn't pick up on it.”

Brian’s committed fundraising continues on 30 June when he will be climbing Ben Narnain in Arrochar and there’s an open invitation to other hillwalkers to join the event.

Claire Fleming, Acting Director of Diabetes Scotland, said: “We are honoured and hugely grateful when people choose to take on tough challenges and fundraise to support Diabetes UK’s work.  

"It is thanks to the commitment and passion of people like Sarah and Brian that we are able to support the 290,000 people living with diabetes in Scotland. We raise awareness of the condition and campaign for improved services. Funds also go to research towards better diagnosis and treatment of the condition to help us create a world where diabetes can do no harm.” 

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