Anna Callard from Llantwit Major and her 11-year-old daughter Lili are taking part in the One Million Step Challenge for the first time to raise funds and awareness of type 1 diabetes in children. Anna's son Cori, who is 14, was diagnosed with type 1 in 2018.
Anna said: "Cori hadn't been himself for about two weeks, I noticed he was going to the toilet more often than normal, feeling tired and drinking a lot more than usual, to the point of drinking four pints of milk in a day! As parents we didn't know the signs of diabetes. My maternal instinct kicked in and I knew something just wasn't right, I assumed he had some kind of infection".
Cori was diagnosed the day before World Diabetes Day.
Anna said: "Little did I know that this trip to the clinic was going to change my boy's life forever. The doctor was amazing, he did some tests and said Cori had ketones present, I had no idea what that meant, the doctor explained that it was a possibility he had diabetes. He sent us to the hospital straight away, where it was confirmed that Cori had type 1 diabetes. This was a massive shock, to us. We didn't know anything about diabetes and were heartbroken".
Cori's parents were worried that they had done something wrong to trigger the illness before they learnt about diabetes. But they had another surprise in store: Cori coped very well with his diagnosis and has been laidback about it.
"By the end of the first day he was doing his finger pricks and injecting his insulin. We had to stay in hospital for four days to learn everything we could about the illness, basically a crash course on type 1 diabetes. Cori had his own care team, and still does.
"Paul is his diabetic nurse, who lightened the mood from the very start and still makes us laugh, Karen his lovely dietitian, and the lovely Dr Jain. It is a constant learning curve for us as a family. We've seen Cori grow stronger and deal with things no one knew he was even capable of. He's very good at spotting his lows, he gets very shaky and gets a headache."
It has been an overwhelming experience for the Callards. Cori's courage and resilience and the support of the care team have helped them with the changes living with diabetes requires.
Getting the steps in to fight diabetes and lockdown inactivity
"While browsing through social media, the One Million Step Challenge popped up. I'm not a runner, so I thought the step challenge was right for me and Lili. We hope to raise money for Diabetes UK, so they can keep researching and developing new ways to deal with this life changing illness. If you're thinking of fundraising, social media is a great platform to start at", Anna explained.
The lockdown has been challenging, as Anna decided to pull Cori out of school before the official closure. She was concerned about the risks posed by Covid-19. Cori loves Airsoft (a shooting sport) but hasn't been able to practice since venues closed.
Lili is very active and plays football for Barry town, Cardiff Performance Centre and Regionals. Both kids have been learning at home and trying to keep fit in different ways. Now, Anna and Lili have taken the One Million Step Challenge, bonding together, as the family always wanted to include her in their involvement with diabetes: "Just over 11,000 steps a day will encourage me to become fitter and hopefully lose a bit of lockdown weight that's crept up on me", she added.