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Advice for people with diabetes and their families

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Rugby mum-of-three takes big strides for Diabetes UK

The mother of a teenage girl diagnosed with type 1 diabetes during lockdown is tackling the One Million Step Challenge to raise funds for our vital work.

Sophie Abbis

Clare Abbis, 42, who has 13-year-old twin daughters Lauren and Sophie and 11 year old Emily, says her life was turned upside in May this year when Sophie (pictured) suddenly became very unwell.

Clare said: “On 29 May Sophie became very lethargic and napped in the afternoon, she lost her appetite and was incredibly thirsty, but it was a very hot day, so we missed some of the telltale signs." 

“We knew it was going to be difficult seeing a doctor but she was quite weak at bedtime, so we decided we would try first thing in the morning. But by 2am she had gone downhill rapidly and 111 sent an ambulance; when they checked her glucose levels, they were found to be very high so they rushed her to hospital."

“They worked very hard in A&E to bring her levels down and then she was transferred to a high dependency unit for monitoring."

“Because of Covid-19 it was just us two for a few days, but we were trained up and, by the time we left hospital, Sophie could check her own blood levels and inject insulin herself.”

Following Sophie’s diagnosis, Clare decided to take part in Diabetes UK’s One Million Step Challenge, as a commitment to helping raise funds for the charity’s vital work, which includes research into groundbreaking technology and – ultimately – a cure.

The event runs between 1 July and 30 September, and invites people to push themselves out of their comfort zone by taking one million steps over three months and getting sponsored for every stride. There is also an option to walk half a million steps or 1.7 million. 

Clare said: “Eight weeks on and Sophie is doing incredibly well. Online forums have been very helpful and groups where other families have shared their stories have helped so much." 

“People just letting us know we would all be okay and we weren’t alone."

“Being in lockdown made it very hard not being able to see family and friends, but at least we didn’t have school to think about."

“Sophie can carb count her meals and with a little help calculate her insulin doses. She is back training with Rugby Town Football Club and we are all living our new life.”

Peter Shorrick, our UK Midlands and East Regional Head, said:

“We’re really grateful to Clare for supporting our work to fund ground-breaking research, care services and campaigns that change the lives of those living with diabetes. And during these really challenging times the support of fundraisers like Clare is more vital than ever before.

The One Million Step Challenge is perfect if you want to take steps towards a healthier you. You can take on the challenge alone, or better still, get your family, friends and colleagues involved. You can walk it, jog it or dance it. How you complete your steps is up to you. The money you raise while you do it will fund our fight for a world where diabetes can do no harm.”

Sponsor Clare and find out more about her One Million Step journey

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