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.