This year, on Sunday, 8 September, Arlene Rae-Hewitt is taking on the Great North Run. Just seven months earlier, her 10 year old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
Mum of 10 year girl with Type 1 diabetes
"After two weeks of me trying to get the doctors to deal with it, my daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Another week or two and she wouldn’t have been here.
She was wired up to two different drips, two different machines and had two cannulas in her arms. She couldn't even bend her arms enough to brush her teeth as they were further up her arms. This is still a giggle at times that I brushed her teeth for her and fully washed, dried and dressed her after a shower...including her moustache (she doesn’t really have one).
"She has had a rollercoaster over the past 3 months, both emotionally and physically"
A roller-coaster diagnosis
She has always been a big eater and the day of her blood test she had to fast, so she was starving. She got to eat a sandwich before being sent to the hospital. They wouldn’t have let her but I did in between seeing the doctors as she was so hungry and had to start fasting again as soon as we were at the hospital for another 24 hours. She was far from happy. Every time she spoke to someone she was saying "they are starving me".
Her blood glucose level was at 28.5 and her ketones were at 6.5. People with diabetes should have numbers between 4-7 ideally and zero ketones. They had to try and decrease her levels slowly and with such high control to avoid swelling of the brain, which in turn could cause brain damage and death.
As a parent you see your child so frequently, that you don’t always see the weight loss. They asked her to sit forward and you could see every notch down her spine! Now, three months on you can only see 3.
She was 3 stone 11lbs and 135 cm tall at diagnosis, 7 weeks later at her clinic appointment she was 5 stone and 136.3 cm tall. She has always been very small so it was strange to see she was growing tall, but amazing to see her so healthy.
She has had a roller-coaster over the past 3 months, both emotionally and physically.
Bite the bullet and go for it
This is why I am thrilled to have been picked by Diabetes UK to run for them at The Great North Run, to help fund research and treatments, and hopefully find a cure for this awful condition within my little girl’s life time.
To anyone contemplating doing something like this, I say bite the bullet and go for it - it may change your life while you try to help change the lives of others."
If Arlene's story has inspired you, and you'd like to hear more about ways you can get involved by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, we'd love to hear from you.