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'Paul was a true inspiration'

 

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"On 5 July 2011 my brother passed away suddenly from diabetic ketoacidosis. He was aged 37 and had been living with Type 1 diabetes since the age of 22.

 

Unfortunately his mother passed away also when she was 45, an age we thought too young until we lost Paul.

Despite living with diabetes Paul did not allow it to stop him doing what he wanted to do, he was a very keen sportsperson- playing 5 a side football every week, mountain biking at every possible opportunity in the Welsh Mountains, snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing. He would try most things at least once.

 

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Paul (pictured left on Drum Mountain) was a true inspiration because he also lived with other illnesses, but did not allow them to dictate how he would live his life. He appreciated the beautiful surroundings in which he lived, embracing the countryside and the opportunity to ride his treasured bikes.

 

Following his death, his friends and I (pictured far right, in top picture) decided to do something to raise money and awareness for diabetes. Paul loved the outdoors and always loved mountain biking or walking, and the Three Peaks challenge was the obvious choice.

We set up a group and asked who wanted to be involved, Paul was very popular, with over 200 people at his funeral he was well liked by many people. The final number of people involved was 24 - we had 20 people walking and four drivers.

We started the challenge on Friday 6 July, the night before we scattered Paul´s ashes on his favourite mountain (Drum Mountain). We started the challenge at 5pm at Ben Nevis and completed the challenge by 5pm at Snowdon on Saturday 7 July.

Everyone completed the challenge, including a boy of 15 and my dad aged 64- who was diagnosed with bowel cancer last year.

Paul meant so much to everyone he knew and though it was both physically and emotionally the hardest thing I have done, but it was worth it.

We have now raised almost £4000, and we hope to continue to fundraise for diabetes each year.

From this I have learned so much more about diabetes, I never truly understood what my brother lived with day to day, and how amazing he was to live his life to the fullest- embracing every single day as though it were his last. We all miss him, but he has left a lasting legacy of making each day count."

Words by Sarah

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