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.


Supporting a great cause 

My wife and I like to support a new charity each year through her line dance class, and this year, Diabetes UK seemed like a great fit. Within each year we try to raise money through our social nights, table quizzes, line dance demonstrations etc. Previously, my wife even took on a skydive for Air Ambulance, despite having such a fear of heights!

Charlie and Paul pictured with a tandem bicycle

Whilst I don’t have diabetes myself, I know it can be such a debilitating illness and I’ve learnt a lot from my friends who have the condition themselves. This year I’m really driven to do this in support of them and all in our local area who have experience of the condition.

Pushing yourself

I’m not a cyclist as such, so that is why this is such a significant challenge for me. In advance, I train by doing a hilly 20 or 40-mile cycle when I get time, however, I also pilot tandems most Saturdays for partially sighted and blind people through a charity called Lisburn Outlook. That has been a great way to help me train.

The Lough can be completed in a few less miles but there’s just something about completing 100 miles that is quite a milestone. Each year, I tend to add in an extra route to take it over the 100-mile mark, usually around 103 miles by the time I am home. I must say, I’m usually digging deep for the last 20-30 miles and it’s then that sponsorship and community support that really see me through to the end!

If anyone is thinking about taking on a fundraising challenge, then I would wholeheartedly encourage you to go for it! Yes, it can be difficult and time-consuming, but what better feeling to know that you’ve pushed yourself outside of your comfort zone to support others – purely because you can!

Read Charlie's complete story
Lucy holds 7 medals up. She is smiling and wearing her Diabetes UK Vest.


My marathon journey

I started running in 2017, I ran a few half marathons and 4 full marathons in the space of about 4 years. In the Autumn of 2021, I decided to set myself the challenge of running 12 marathons in 12 months to raise money for Diabetes UK.   This was a big deal to me, to stay injury free, fit and well enough to complete such a massive challenge

There are so many favourite moments, but one stands out. I was running the Manchester Marathon in 2022. I ran in to Deansgate, I could see myself wearing my Diabetes UK top on a giant screen. The race commentator read out my name and told the supporting crowd that I was running 12 Marathons in 12 Months for Diabetes UK in memory of James. The support was amazing. It was a very proud moment for me and if I was feeling concerned about the challenge ahead, it reminded me exactly why I was doing it.

In July 2022, at the Wales Marathon, I finished my 12 Marathons in 12 Months challenge. It was a tough course, but I was proud that I had finished the task ahead of schedule - I had completed 12 marathons in 10 months! I had enjoyed the challenge so much that it was no surprise to my family and friends that I continued to run marathons. I totalled 14 during that 12 month period.

I had started the campaign not really knowing what I was capable of, if indeed I would be able to stay fit, well and complete it. The person that began that challenge was not the same person who finished. I had more confidence. I was stronger, fitter and believed in myself.

I had enjoyed fundraising and flying the Diabetes UK flag so much that I realised I couldn’t give it up! So, I carried on running. I recently completed marathon number 28 and I have plenty more booked, well in to 2024. I would also like to start running marathons abroad.  

Read Lucy's complete story

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged 16


Diabetes UK offers a wealth of information for people with all types of diabetes. The forum is particularly useful if you have a very nuanced issue with equipment, odd glucose levels or guidance. The helpline is also a great support given how tricky it can be to get hold of community nurses or diabetic specialists within the NHS for those niggly questions.

Personal support

My friends and husband are incredibly supportive of my diabetes. Mainly by treating me no differently from if I didn't have it. They are very much hands-off unless something goes amiss. I think it's all about educating friends so they can understand the high-level issues or warning signs so they feel confident too.

They are all aware of the signs of hypo and will happily and quickly move in with some carbs if I sound like I'm going low. But they're not overly fretful given the Libre and my usual sound control, the perfect mix for a busy person like me!

"The Freestyle Libre has really been a game changer as my husband will quickly ask me 'how are your levels?' and within an instant, it can put our mind to rest."


Read 's complete story
Kayleigh Steel


Speaking out

I don’t like talking about myself, and it’s only in the past year that I’ve been more open. I’ve now started talking to my family about diabetes and mental health, and I volunteer with Diabetes UK – I don’t want other younger people with type 2 diabetes to feel like they can’t talk about it.  

In April 2023 I went to Parliament to talk about my mental health experiences, and I appeared on ‘Diabetes Discussions – a Diabetes UK Podcast’ as a guest on Episode 4: Mental Wellbeing. I feel passionately that young people with type 2 need greater mental health support, and that we need to break the stigma that exists around age and type 2.  

I think if I’d have got help with my mental health at 19, it would’ve positively impacted my eating patterns. Moreover, I likely would’ve exercised more, and I probably wouldn’t have got into so much debt at uni. 

I want other younger people to get info on type 2 diabetes at the right time, and actual practical support and advice. 

Read Kayleigh's complete story
Sam Dottin


Moving foward

In June 2023, my nurse called me one morning and said that I was being given a 3-month trial of a Dexcom ONE CGM. I was ecstatic! 

Being at Diabetes UK gave me the confidence to push for this, and within just a few days of using the CGM I noticed that stress and anxiety were factors for my blood sugar being higher.  

My blood glucose levels are now better than they’ve been since I was diagnosed, and I feel like I’m much more in control of my health.  

Read Sam's complete story
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