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Advice for people with diabetes and their families



Read stories from our hero fundraisers. Whether it’s running, cycling, walking or jumping, we’re lucky to have people push themselves to the limit and join us in fighting for a world where diabetes can do no harm.

mary's story

Mary HamiltonDiagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1980

How the One Million Step Challenge has impacted me

Diabetes UK raises an incredible amount of money and they seem to be the main researchers into diabetes in this country. I’d just love them to find a cure. You see these little kiddies, on a pump, their mum too frightened to go to sleep. Wouldn’t it be lovely to find a cure for them? That’s why I got involved in the One Million Step Challenge.

I first saw the challenge advertised on Facebook three years ago. I signed up, but I was recovering from a bad accident and I had to give up. I could hardly walk down the road some days. It was the thought of raising money for diabetes that pushed me to try again.  

The following year, I walked and walked and walked. This year, I was determined to do it again. I finished the challenge over a week early and raised around £850.

Through the challenge, I’ve met such a lovely group of people. We support each other. I think if you have a chronic illness, other people often aren’t interested. If I can go on the One Million Step Facebook group and say I’ve been having a rubbish day with my sugars and I’m really fed-up, I get hints from other people about how they avoid hypos on long walks. It’s lovely.  

The One Million Steps Challenge has educated me. We’re a good group and we teach each other a lot. I’ve not just met other people with type 1, I’ve learned about type 2 as well. People say to me, ‘oh, you’ve got the bad diabetes.’ All diabetes is bad. They’ve all got the same complications. When you talk to people, you realise there aren’t many people whose lives haven’t been touched by diabetes.

A lot of people I’ve met through the One Million Step Challenge, especially some of the people with type 2, their HbA1c is incredibly improved. Some of them may be able to come off their medication. A lot of people have lost weight, feel better, and have improved their blood sugars as well. It’s really heartening to see the impact it’s had for some people. 

It was a nice thing to focus on during the coronavirus pandemic. You get to know people who are out walking their dogs or whatever. Walking is quite a nice way to keep in touch with people over lockdown. You get to see people. I think this challenge has saved a lot of people’s sanity, particularly for people who live on their own. They say that getting out and making themselves go out has made a big difference. When you go on a regular walk, you get to know people. You smile and say hello, pat their dogs. It’s kept me going.

It’s helped my diabetes management, too. If my sugar’s a bit high I’ll go for a walk and it’ll bring my sugar down. Now in the evening, if I’ve eaten something that’s set my sugar high, I’ll just go for a little walk and keep checking it and when it’s started coming down I’d go home.

Read Mary Hamilton's complete story
Skids' story

Skids BradshawDiagnosed with type 2 diabetes aged 46 and raising awareness

Walking to raise money

Before signing up for My Wellness Walk I hadn’t been involved in fundraising for Diabetes UK but I am interested in raising money for a cause close to me and to heighten awareness among friends and family about diabetes and what can be done to deal with it. If all goes well I would definitely be up for more events in the future! I haven't been involved with Diabetes UK before now but will be looking to do more in the future with the charity as a source of help and advice if needed.

Read Skids Bradshaw's complete story
Shannon with her daughter on her shoulders, laughing in the countryside

ShannonDiagnosed with type 1 while 28 weeks pregnant with daughter Bronwen

Running the marathon

Diabetes UK offer their runners so much help leading up to the marathon. We had access to nutritional information and dietitians to help us. We had training days where we could go to their headquarters in London and have personal trainers help with our training. 

There were also Facebook groups specifically for Diabetes UK runners and fundraisers and the community spirit on there was incredible. We all shared our Strava data, which helped keep me motivated because the feeling of competition would encourage me to go out and train. 

All those things combined were really great. You really felt part of a team, even though running the marathon is a solo thing. And seeing everyone in their Diabetes UK tops on the day was great. If we saw someone in a Diabetes UK top, we’d yell encouragement and others would do the same for us. It was really great. 

We were the top fundraisers that year. You aim to raise £1800 each, and we raised just over £5,000 in total. 

Read Shannon's complete story
Sharon's dad

Sharon Swimming in memory of her late father who had type 1

The Challenge

I’m already swimming, I enjoy it very much and it helps my spinal health as I have a back condition. I believe that I can do the challenge as I swim twice a week at my local pool. Each year I set myself goals to work towards. Last year was swimming in lochs and climbing Munros (Scottish mountains that are over 3,000 ft) and swimming with my wee dog Lexie! (That was number 1 on my bucket list). This year, I want to swim Loch Ard, my favourite place.  My father loved the outdoors and would have loved Loch Ard.

If you’re thinking of taking part in Swim22 go for it! Set yourself small goals, not only is this good for your physical health it is also good for your mental health. Don’t be down if you don’t reach 22 miles, it’s the trying that is more important.

I’m taking part because of my dad.  My wonderful father, my hero. He was so important to a lot of people and he never gave up.  All the challenges he faced through diabetes, he faced head on. He was an exceptional man and dealt with all the complications of diabetes so bravely. This is for him.

I feel very proud to be a part of Swim22.

We're grateful to have Sharon on our Swim22 team, why not join in Swim22 to help people with diabetes?

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MohammedDaughter Evie diagnosed at 5.

Improving treatments

I want to take part in a fundraising event for Diabetes UK because it's heartbreaking seeing what diabetes has done to my child. 

Running 13 miles is a mere drop in the ocean compared to what Evie now faces every day.

I'm hoping the treatment will improve as she gets older and becomes more structured towards the individual. And hopefully, it will involve a lot less pricking of fingers.


The challenge

I don’t have any running experience so this will be a real challenge for me. The most running I’ve done recently is running for the office exit at 5pm on a Friday. But I'm taking on the Great North Run as it's local to my area – I can see the runners every year run across the Tyne Bridge from my lounge window and it’s something I’ve considered doing for a while.

The challenge of running a half marathon is daunting but I will finish it. The time it takes is not a worry for me – I just want to finish and see my daughter at the end. I don’t need any more motivation.


Take on your own running challenge to support people affected by diabetes.

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