Jamie Watkins is running his first-ever half marathon for us, six months after his granddaughter Darcey was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
Jamie, 44, is from Trebanos taking on the JCP Swansea Half Marathon on Sunday 23 June. Darcey, 4, was diagnosed in December while on a family holiday.
The signs and symptoms of Type 1 diabetes can develop very quickly. By the time Darcey was diagnosed, she was seriously unwell with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which can be a life-threatening condition. She spent two nights in the High Dependency Unit at Glangwili Hospital.
Jamie said, “One day Darcey woke up teary and snappy, which is unlike her. Her mum, Laura, put it down to tiredness after a busy week. She realised she had been very thirsty and had been wetting the bed. That night her pyjamas were falling down and Laura realised she had lost a lot of weight. We now know that these are all classic symptoms of Type 1 diabetes
“Laura took her to the out of hours GP straight away. From there everything was a blur. Darcey became very unwell, very quickly. After three days she was transferred to Morriston Hospital for five more days while we learnt more about managing her condition.”
"We learnt a lot very quickly"
Jamie continued, “Diabetes was a condition we’d heard of but never taken much notice of. We were so uneducated and at the beginning it was so hard. We learnt a lot very quickly and the hospital team were great, explaining everything and assuring us we were not alone.
“Six months on Darcey is doing so well. She can check her blood sugar levels herself, takes part in dance, swimming and rugby and never lets her diabetes affect this. She proudly shows off her blood glucose monitor and is very open about her insulin injections.
“Sometimes she just wants to be like her friends. It’s hard to explain that it will never go away, but she always bounces back. She does us all so proud.”
"I hope I do her proud"
The family’s experience inspired Jamie to do something to support us.
Jamie said, “Darcey think it’s great and tells everyone I am running to help “special” people like her. I know she will be there on the day to watch and hope I do her proud.”
Our fundraising manager, Joseph Cuff, said, “There are around 1,400 children and young people in Wales with Type 1 diabetes, and around 1 in 4 are in DKA when diagnosed, like Darcey. We are working hard through our Know Type 1 campaign to raise awareness of the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes, to make sure children are diagnosed sooner and more safely. We’re so grateful to Jamie for helping continue to support other children with Type 1 across Wales, and their families.”