A former athlete from Cardiff is running the London Marathon for Diabetes UK Cymru to support three family members with the condition.
Jezzelle Lobeck, 29, has represented Wales as a triathlete and cross country runner, and completed the Cardiff Half Marathon twice.
But the challenge of her first marathon is nothing compared to the challenges her family members with diabetes face every day.
"My cousin tries not to let diabetes slow her down"
Jezzelle said, “My cousin Malaika was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in April 2016, just after her sixth birthday. It was very scary as there was so much to learn and if not managed properly the condition can be life-threatening.
“We’re all so proud of how Malaika has adapted to life with diabetes. Within a week she was injecting insulin herself. It can be hard, but Malaika tries not to let her diabetes slow her down and continues to lead a normal life doing her favourite sports and activities.
“Our family had another shock in January when my cousin Duke, 23, was also diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Luckily, his symptoms were spotted early and like Malaika, he has taken it all in his stride.”
Jezzelle’s aunt Diana was also diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 10 years ago. All three are positive about managing their condition, and eat healthily and exercise.
"Their courage inspired me"
Her family’s strength and resilience inspired Jezzelle to support Diabetes UK Cymru with her first ever marathon on Sunday 22 April.
Jezzelle said: “Malaika, Duke and Diana have all overcome challenges. Their courage and determination inspired me to sign up to the marathon. It’s hard to motivate myself sometimes but my mindset changes when I think of the people I’m running for.
“While I have done a lot of sport, that doesn’t mean the marathon will be easy! I will be honoured to represent my family members and raise money to support them.”
Our Fundraising Manager, Joseph Cuff said: “Diabetes is a complex condition that must be managed carefully day-to-day. It can be challenging sometimes but the support of family and friends can make a real difference.
“We’re so proud of Jezzelle for taking on the London Marathon for us in support of her cousins and aunt. We wish her all the best of luck with her training and look forward to cheering her on the day!”