Two BBC staff members from Glasgow hoping to help find better treatments for Type 1 diabetes took off to America to take part in the New York Marathon on 1 November, 2015.
Maureen Macleod, a director for the Gaelic-language programme Eorpa, and Anne Lundon, a Broadcast Journalist, both have family members affected by Type 1 diabetes, and decided to take on the challenge to raise funds for Diabetes UK.
They raised money specifically for a Diabetes UK research project currently being carried out at the University of Edinburgh by Dr Shareen Forbes, which looks to improve the effectiveness of islet transplants in the treatment of Type 1 diabetes.
In 2012, Maureen’s five-year-old niece, Lauren, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and she and other family members started helping Diabetes UK to raise funds. That year, Maureen and her friend Rachel walked 80 miles through Lewis and Harris to raise funds for Diabetes UK.
“At the end of that challenge, when we were thinking of a new fundraiser, Rachel, who also has Type 1 diabetes, challenged me to complete the New York Marathon in 2015. As someone who has been overweight for most of my life and who was very skilled in avoiding PE at school, running any distance, let alone a marathon, was something that I would never, ever have contemplated,” says Maureen. “But I hate to ignore a challenge and will give anything a go once! My goal is to cross the finish line, regardless of time, and as well as raising money for Diabetes UK, this is a huge personal challenge for me.
For Christmas this year, I want my diabetes to go away
“When Lauren was diagnosed, it was a big shock to all of us. There is a constant concern about her overall health and what difficulties the illness will pose for her in the coming years. Lauren has coped brilliantly since her diagnosis and I am in constant admiration of how she deals with her diabetes and doesn’t let it stop her doing things. A couple of years ago, she said “For Christmas this year, I want my diabetes to go away,” and this is always a reminder to me that, regardless of how well she copes, diabetes is something that impacts her every day of her life.
Maureen’s colleague and friend Anne decided to join in on the challenge when she heard what Maureen was doing to raise money for Diabetes UK, as she also has family members affected by the condition.
“Caught in the moment – and thinking it was a long way away – I found myself blurting out the words "I'll do it with you!", says Anne. “I have always been quite active but had been struggling to fit in my various different hobbies around my schedule since starting at the BBC. I wanted to set myself a real challenge whilst fundraising for charity. Type 1 diabetes is something which affects so many people – and which many people don't fully understand. I have close family, friends and colleagues who live with Type 1 diabetes every day.
“My father in law developed Type 1 diabetes later in life and seeing him having to adapt and change his eating habits and lifestyle to learn how to live from day to day with it – I have seen how difficult that can be. He wasn't keeping very well prior to this and it took a long while to stabilise. I would hope that one day, there will be a cure for Type 1 diabetes.”
You can sponsor Maureen and Anne and read more about their challenge and the University of Edinburgh research project they will be helping by going to theirJust Giving page.