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Northampton man launches fundraiser on World Diabetes Day

A Northampton man is celebrating living with type 1 diabetes for 40 years with a physical challenge to support our work and raise awareness of diabetes.

James O'Neill

James O’Neill, 52, was diagnosed with the condition just before his teenage years and says it was a real struggle to manage his diabetes.

James said: “I collapsed on the football pitch, at the time I only weighed around five stone and I was really poorly. I found managing my condition every day quite difficult and I certainly didn’t take good care of myself.

“Life can be difficult at times and I ignored the signs that I was developing complications until it was too late. I developed an ulcer on my foot which didn’t heal, and I had to have part of my foot amputated. That was very hard time and I was unable to work.”

Many children and young people are not diagnosed early enough with type 1 diabetes. This can lead to them becoming seriously ill and can be life-threatening if not treated quickly. There are four key symptoms everyone should be aware of. These are being tired, being really thirsty, being thinner than usual and going to the toilet a lot. We call these the four Ts. 

James' rowing and cycling challenge

Inspirational James is determined to challenge himself to raise awareness and understanding of the condition. In March 2022, to mark his 40 year diaversary James is going to row five miles in an hour and then hand cycle for an hour.

James continued: “I hope everyone will come and cheer me on and help to raise money for Diabetes UK. I also want people to understand how serious diabetes is and make sure they do all they can to live well with the condition.

There’s so much support out there and it’s really important to look after yourself, get educated, keep active and eat a healthy diet.”

Our East Midlands Fundraiser, Charlotte Wright, said: “We want to thank James for taking on this unique challenge. And it is really fitting to launch his fundraising event on World Diabetes Day 2021

“Over the last 18 months we have seen demand for our services reach record levels, while our own funding has been significantly impacted. This challenge continues and, more so than ever, people with diabetes need us. But we need your support to be able to continue fighting their corner. 

“Without the help of generous supporters like James, we simply would not be able to offer support to the thousands of people with diabetes contacting our helpline. We also wouldn't be able to campaign to keep people with diabetes safe in the workplace, or invest in vital research. This research is taking us a step closer to our vision of a world where diabetes can do no harm.” 

Visit James’s JustGiving page to read his full story and find out how to sponsor him.

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