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Rachel's story: running 10k for family with type 1 diabetes

Rachel Battley

Niece diagnosed at 4 years old, one month after Rachel's brother-in-law.

I believe that everyone should be educated and aware of the early signs of diabetes.

Rachel Battley is running the Great Manchester 10k run to support her sister’s family. Her niece and brother-in-law were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes within just one month of each other.

Journey with diabetes

Two family members diagnosed

My little niece; Molly, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at just four years old. This was just a month after her dad was diagnosed with the condition.

It all started in 2016, when my brother-in law; Paul, was losing a lot of weight with no explanation. After visiting the doctor and hospital for many tests, it was confirmed that he was type 1 diabetic.

Paul was getting to grips with his diagnosis and learning how to manage his diet and insulin. But, Molly didn’t seem her usual self. She was constantly thirsty and drinking an unusual amount of liquid. Her mum and dad took her to the doctors. She was then admitted to The Royal Cornwall Hospital that day. After many tests, stress and worry, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

It took a few days in hospital, lots of advice, training and education for the family to be confident in managing Molly's diabetes.

My sister stated how lucky they were to have noticed that both Paul and Molly were not well.


Signing up for the Great Manchester 10k run

In May 2019, I went to cheer on a friend doing the Great Manchester Run. Seeing the support for the athletes and charities, I decided up to sign up for my first ever competitive run.

I have gone through phases of running over the last few years and then usually give up after hitting the 5k mark. Entering an official ‘run’ has never been on my agenda – until now.

Unlike some of the people running for Diabetes UK, I do not have diabetes myself. But it affects my family massively.


My inspiration for running

Molly, Paul and my sister Dawn are my inspiration for running. 

Molly is the most resilient, brave and strong little lady I know. Now at the age of 7, she takes her own blood glucose readings, has her insulin and off she goes.

Molly Does own finger tests and works out her own units. She’s also aware of how she feels and raises any concerns to her mum/teachers.

My brother-in-law; Paul, has not only had the pressure of learning and managing diabetes for himself, but also for his brave little girl.

Dawn, my sister has been amazing. She’s adjusted to a different way of life and coped with the worries that I know this can bring. Dawn has not only taken on a role at Molly's school, but she has championed Molly's diabetes. Now there are a number of teachers trained to help and administer insulin.

I must admit, I am extremely nervous. It is the first run I have ever entered but I am optimistic.

My husband Mike and my daughter Grace have been a huge support. They have encouraged me to not give up and hearing them tell me how proud they are, makes it all worthwhile.

I am hoping that all my South Westerly Cornish Crew and my family and friends will join me on the day. My husband Mike and my daughter Grace will also be on the side lines, with banners in their hands, cheering me on.

Diabetes UK and me

Our family's link to Diabetes UK

My family always use Diabetes UK’s social media for reference and the website for help and advice.

Molly and her parents are also members of the Diabetes UK local group; Supporting Kernow’s Young Diabetics (SKYD), in Cornwall.

There is always someone on hand to support the family. Either at the end of the phone, via social media or at one of the many activity days they organise. Molly is the only child in her school with Diabetes and often feels ‘different’. SKYD arrange fun activity days for children with Diabetes. Molly has made some close friends here. She now understands that having Diabetes isn't a lonely and rare condition.

Thanks to Molly’s friends and family and the SKYD group, she is living her best life.

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