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Advice for people with diabetes and their families


Diabetes UK and me

We’re here to support everyone affected by diabetes. Whether that’s through our online community, our wealth of online information, or the fundraising events we run — we are continuing to fight for a world where diabetes can do no harm.


Heidi QuineDiagnosed at the age of 12 in 2001

Diabetes UK and me

Diabetes UK has always supported new technologies to support the condition, along with bringing everyone together. There is space to learn from others and share experiences. Always providing advice and using their funding to allow living with the condition to not only be more manageable, but more enjoyable. 

I ran my first 10k in 2014 for Cystic Fibrosis, as my niece Millie suffers from the condition. I had never raised awareness around my own diabetes before, as I was a little too shy to openly discuss in the past. When I decided to race the Chicago Marathon in 2018, I thought it was about time I did something for Diabetes UK.

And when I did the Prudential Ride 100 for the charity last year, I wanted to show that you don’t just need to get around the course if you have diabetes, you can do it competitively. 


I love exercising and racing not only to connect with others, but to challenge myself on what I can achieve. Going for a run, or a cycle always puts a smile on my face. Time to myself to help me feel more alive. You want to be fit and look a certain way but when you have diabetes management on top of that, you can feel you can’t perform or do that. But I’ve never let it stop me.

I like competition and working towards something I have never done which is why I’m training for the Half Ironman’s and now the Diabetes UK cycle wide event. The one coast to coast route I would love to achieve for that would be LEJOG – a team challenge of 980 miles.

Sport has its challenges with type 1 diabetes but it has always proven to me that I can achieve crazy goals such as racing marathons, 100 mile bike rides and triathlons.

Read Heidi Quine's complete story
Nicole Smiling

Nicola PflugDiagnosed at 14

Being part of a support group

I’ve also started an online course in sign language. I’m part of the Diabetes UK Flintshire group and when I was attending a wellness event last year, I was approached by a carer of someone with type 1 who was also deaf. He wanted to know if anyone was able to sign at these events. It got me thinking about making my group as accessible as possible for people. It’s something new to learn and keeps my mind busy. I can’t physically do a course at the college at the moment, so this is the next best thing. I can do an hour or so every other day and tick off sections that I’ve covered. I think it’s important to do something realistic and achievable, too. 

My advice to anyone struggling would be to have a look on the Diabetes UK website and find your local support group. What’s really good about my Flintshire group is that everyone knows me and what I’ve been through – I don’t have to explain anything. 

I need to keep a positive head on, because the way I see it, everything could get you down. But after all I have been through, I know I can get through this and be stronger for it.

Read Nicola Pflug's complete story

Snita SharmaDiagnosed with type 2 diabetes 10 years ago

Listen to Snita's story

Hear from people sharing their experiences of trying to eat and live well with diabetes in our brand new podcast series, Dining with diabetes. 

In this episode, Snita tells us how she put her type 2 diabetes into remission by changing how she eats. From tucking into plates of chips and beans to cutting calories drastically over 8 weeks, Snita’s life changed. She no longer needs to take her diabetes medication, and she’s discovered a brand-new passion for food along the way. 

If you enjoy this episode, Pauline has also shared her story about dining with type 1 diabetes. And there’s more from Snita herself below. 

Read Snita Sharma's complete story
Pauline smiling

Pauline McCullochDiagnosed with type 1 around her 40th birthday

Listen to Pauline's story

Hear from people sharing their experiences of trying to eat and live well with diabetes in our brand new podcast series, Dining with diabetes. 

Pauline has had type 1 diabetes for over 10 years. At first, she feared she was going to have to stop drinking alcohol or treating herself to the occasional cake. But in this episode she shares how being properly informed - and using the latest diabetes tech - helps her enjoy what she eats without spending too much time on the detail. 

If you enjoy this episode, you can also listen to Snita’s story about dining with type 2 diabetes. And you can hear more from Pauline about her journey below. 

Read Pauline McCulloch's complete story

Leighanne Smith2009

Being an advocate

That was it, I am committed and I am ready. I immediately felt more optimistic for the New Year. My fundraising target is £2,200.00. My aim is to create as much exposure as possible so that I can become a positive advocate for those living with diabetes.

In my experience you'll feel so much better about yourself and your condition or even those close to you who live with it. All too often I hear people complaining that we still, after years do not have the tools to manage this condition more effectively or have a cure, but the more sponsorship we raise for Diabetes UK means more money for life changing research. I feel very optimistic about the future care for people living with diabetes, what a time to be alive.

I would like to create as much exposure as possible so that I can become a positive advocate for those living with diabetes. I want to inspire as many diabetics as possible, as in my experience it can sometimes feel like a very lonely, misfortunate place to be. I am hoping that by taking part in Swim 22 I can calm my anxiety, lose weight and improve my HbA1c.

I have found the fundraising pretty easy. Initially I did set a target of around £200 then I quickly erased it as I knew I had set the bar too low. I do believe that people are keen to help support a good cause so I knew I could raise so much more.

With this in mind I set a much more inspiring target of £2,200. I rolled out an initial sponsorship opportunity to a few small businesses. I was specific in the amount they would each contribute and in return promised them exposure via a towel (which I had made at my own expense) taken with me to every swim, frequent mentions via my Instagram and my LinkedIn pages. I own a small insurance brokerage firm so the businesses mentioned above and are supporting me are in fact existing clients of mine. I limited this opportunity to 10 companies donating £100 each, they went very quickly so that got me to my first £1,000.

One of my sponsors is the owner of a successful mixed martial arts gym and I have asked whether they would do a raffle amongst their members offering their own merchandise as a prize. I am sure I will continue to find new ways and will not stop until I reach my goal.

The emails from the Swim22 team are really helpful and include useful fundraising tips. I would encourage every participant to take the time out to read these.

Read Leighanne Smith's complete story
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