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Rhia's story: having diabetes won't stop me doing Run26

Rhia Diabetes UK

Rhia Steele

Diagnosed age 16 in 2008.

This challenge scares me and I keep thinking ‘but what if I can’t do it?’, however with all the support from family, friends and Diabetes UK, I am determined to not let diabetes, or the problems with my legs, stop me!

Rhia was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 16 years old. Here, she tells us how she's coped since her diagnosis and some of the challenges she's faced preparing for Run26. 


Rhia's journey with diabetes

I was on holiday in Spain with my family when I was 16 when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after suffering from DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) and falling into a coma for two days. Since diagnosis I have been on multiple daily injections on a basal/bolus regime, taking insulin before every meal or snack, and again in the morning on waking, and in the evening before bed.

My diabetes management has been a bit of a rollercoaster over the years, but I have taken insulin as recommended, learned to carb count, did what I was told by doctors.

The biggest challenge

The most challenging thing is the unpredictability of your sugar levels. No one day is ever the same even if you try and eat the same/at the same time/do everything as the day before. Every little thing affects your levels, even something as small as a stressful phone call or enjoying time with friends.


Taking part in the Run26 challenge

I was asked if I wanted to take part in Run 26 by my mother-in-law (to be). She knew that I was looking for motivation to be active to help with my diabetes management (and to lose some weight!) so she suggested we do it together. 

For me, it was a hard decision to decide to commit to this, as I suffer from over-pronation of the feet, painful shin splints and tight leg muscles, which makes it difficult for me to walk on flat ground, never mind attempting to run. There have been countless times I have asked for a lift from family and friends or got a taxi as I physically couldn’t walk to where I needed to get to. 

I decided to sign up for it, thinking "If she can do it, so can I". The training leading up to this challenge is very tough but I am determined to complete it.

Diabetes UK and me 

Diabetes UK and me

Support from the community

Diabetes UK is very supportive, and also helps by raising awareness of the condition to the general public by organising events such as Run 26 and One Million Step challenge. Most people in my life didn’t know the first thing about diabetes when I was diagnosed, and events like these, as well as more available information, has helped them understand this disease, and how important leading a healthy lifestyle is.  

I am raising money for Diabetes UK to help spread awareness of the disease and of these events. I hope that more developments can be made, especially with the management of diabetes and advancing CGM (continuous glucose monitoring), taking us one step closer to a cure. I would like to think that CGMs will be made more accessible to everyone with diabetes, especially those who cannot afford to self-fund or who do not meet the criteria. 

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