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Aberdeen Dad runs Copenhagen Marathon to raise funds


Michael Swan from Aberdeen was inspired to take part in the Copenhagen Marathon after his daughter Isla was diagnosed withtype 1 diabetesin 2022, just before her second birthday. 

Michael said:

“Support available from Diabetes UK has helped me and my family come to terms with Isla’s diagnosis. I want to raise awareness of the condition and give back so more people can benefit from everything the charity does. 

This was my first ever marathon. I found it incredibly challenging yet rewarding. The first 20 miles were enjoyable and the last six miles were an incredible challenge but knowing I was running for such a great cause motivated me to push towards the finish line. 

Discussing Isla's diagnosis, Michael said:  

“We started to notice Isla waking up incredibly thirsty, having heavy nappies, and immediately needing the toilet each morning, and that Isla had lost about a sixth of her body weight. These are three of the four main signs of type 1 diabetes. 

Understanding what diabetes is has been a steep learning curve. We have had a lot of support from Diabetes UK. Being able to access a wealth of information on their website about the condition and how to live well with diabetes has helped us significantly. 

The most common symptoms of type 1 diabetes include the 4Ts of Toilet (going for a wee more often, especially at night), Thirsty (being constantly thirsty and not being able to quench it), Tired (being incredibly tired and having no energy) and Thinner (losing weight without trying to, or looking thinner than usual). Being aware of the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes is important.  

Michael explained how diabetes technology has been a game-changer in helping Isla to manage her blood sugar levels: 

Isla was on daily insulin injections for first three months before being trained up to use a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and an insulin pump. The CGM lets you check blood sugar levels without having to finger prick. Isla wears a small sensor on her body day and night that reads her blood sugar levels and sends the information to my mobile phone. 

Technology won’t take away Isla’s diabetes, but it helps relieve some of the worry and distress associated with diabetes, both for Isla and myself as a parent. 

As Isla has become older, she understands exactly what the numbers are and what we need to do to adjust her insulin to keep her blood sugar levels in range.   

Michael describes Isla as ‘an absolute superstar’ and is in awe of her resilience and ability to adapt to change. In fact, Isla taking everything in her stride inspired Michael to take steps of his own to fulfil his lifelong ambition to run a marathon. 

Michael chose to run the Copenhagen Marathon that annually takes thousands of runners over a gruelling 26-mile course through the inner city of Copenhagen, passing iconic landmarks such as Rosenborg Castle, the Marble Church, Tivoli Gardens, and Kongens Nytorv square 

John Kinnear, National Director at Diabetes Scotland, said: 

It's great that Michael found the information and support available from Diabetes UK so useful. 

Our much-needed work wouldn’t be possible without the determination and generosity of our incredible fundraisers. We are extremely grateful to Michael for his commitment - running a marathon takes mental and physical grit. Every penny raised goes towards funding ground-breaking research, care services and campaigns that can change the lives of those living with diabetes.” 

Michael smashed his target of £1,000 by raising £3,239 for us and would like to raise more. Support Michael on his JustGiving page.

 Watch Michael’s video.

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