My First Blog…Introducing the 2014 Challenge

Twitter Summary: 2014 Everest Base Camp challenge, supporting JDRF to find cure & Dream Trust to sponsor underprivileged diabetic child’s medication in India

Short Summary: I am new to blogging, but starting blog 20 years post my diabetes diagnosis because improving about awareness Type 1 Diabetes is important. Over the last few years I have run the London Marathon, and climbed Mt Kilimanjaro, and have set myself a tough/uphill challenge for 2014 – trekking to Everest Base Camp. 2 things sadden me, which has led me to the charities I will be supporting for the Everest trek: (i) Over 90 years after insulin was discovered there is still no cure, and JDRF (The Type 1 Diabetes charity, are seeking to find the cure through funding the world’s best Type 1 Research; and (ii) Type 1 diabetics effectively remains a death sentence in developing countries because there isn’t universal access to diabetes medication, and Pendsey Trust/Dream Trust provide resources to enable access to medical care and treatment to underprivileged children/families in India, and I want to sponsor a diabetic child’s medication.

The Blog:Ok so I am new to this whole blogging thing, and to be honest, not great with social media and not much of a writer…but this is important, and therefore I have decided to spread my story and seek your support.

Over the coming months I will share more details, but for now will keep this brief.

 

I was diagnosed Type 1 Diabetic during the bank holiday weekend in May 1994, and am starting this blog 20 years post diagnosis. Given my young age at diagnosis, initially my parents managed most of my diabetes, and for this I am extremely grateful. Over my teenage years, my diabetes control deteriorated; a result of hormones and teenage mentality! In my late teens, I realised that I needed to take control of my diabetes, before it started to control me.

My poor diabetes control had meant I had put on a lot of weight, and I started doing a bit of running, and I like to set myself goals, so this unfit/overweight guy decided to run the London Marathon in 2007. Unfortunately 2007 wasn’t my Marathon year, and though I got to the finish line, the time was a lot slower than anticipated, and I had unfinished business with the streets of London. In 2009, I did the London Marathon justice, and crossed the line in under 4.30 hours…a time I was ecstatic with!

I have always been told to aim high, and this I did on my last challenge, for which I took on the Highest Freestanding Mountain in the World, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, in 2011. Summiting Kili was fantastic, and although summit night was tough, the climb overall was incredible (it remains my cover photo on my mobile/on Facebook)!

For the London Marathons and Kilimanjaro climb I have fundraised for JDRF (The Type 1 Diabetes charity), a charity close to my heart, given the aim for all Type 1 diabetics is the Cure. I was the first Type 1 diabetic to climb Kilimanjaro supporting JDRF, and am extremely proud that next month (June 2014), there will be the largest group of Type 1 diabetics (20 diabetics with a combined 350+ years living with Type 1) climbing Kilimanjaro. Even though I am not joining the group to climb Kili again, I have supported the group in their training. I met half the group on a training weekend around 2 months ago, and although that did make me tempted to climb Kili again, I decided that a different challenge was needed for 2014….

This challenge I have been thinking about for several years, and over the last couple of months, it has been more the logistics and charities I am supporting that needed investigation.

 

THE CHALLENGE – EVEREST BASE CAMP, in October/November 2014.

So Everest is the highest mountain in the world, at an altitude of 8848m and therefore getting to the top of Everest isn’t realistic; given it requires ice climbing, takes several months, has significant cost and there is a notable danger element (summiting this season has been largely cancelled).

From Everest Base Camp (EBC) at an altitude of 5400m, I will be able to see the Top of the World, and it is place I am really looking forward to reach. From EBC we will climb further to Kalapattar, at an altitude of 5550m.

EBC

For EBC the altitude reached isn’t as high as Kili, but this will be a tougher climb in other ways. On Kili, you are constantly climbing therefore each step takes you closer to the top; whereas for EBC, being in the Himalayas means there are several inclines and declines en-route, therefore there are descends whilst climbing a mountain (I know this sounds weird!). This means the number of days trekking is double that compared to Kili, and I will spend 14 days in total trekking.

Over the last couple of months I have joined the group climbing Kili next month on a few trekking weekends in Wales, which has been useful training; and I will continue and step-up (no pun intended!) as the climb gets closer.

THE CHARITIES – The Pendsey Trust/Dream Trust and JDRF

Before I give some details on the Charities I will be supporting for this Challenge, let me explain why I have chosen these charities.

Whilst it was 20 years ago, I remember my Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis well. I was walking home from school with my mother, and collapsed; she took me to the doctors and I was admitted to hospital. At this point, my blood sugar levels were in dangerous territory, and the reality is without intervention, could have been fatal. I spent a few days on a drip, which normalised my blood sugar levels; and then my parents/I learnt from the medical team what Type 1 Diabetes meant.

Suddenly in a way everything but in a way nothing changed. To stay healthy I would need to take insulin injections daily, test my blood sugar levels several times a day, as well as staying active and monitoring food intake – the latter 2 are important for all, not just Diabetics.

However, there are 2 things which sadden me, and that is what has led me to the charities I am supporting.

  1. Unfortunately, diabetes diagnosis effectively remains a death sentence is some parts of the world.

The Dream Trust was set up by a Dr Pendsey (a diabetes consultant) in Nagpur, India around 10 years ago; after learning the plight of families whose children were diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and children dying because the cost of insulin was prohibitive.

Dr Pendsey runs a free clinic 1 day a week dedicated for diabetes children, and through THE Dream Trust has gained international support, and has sponsored diabetes medication for hundreds of children. http://www.dreamtrust.org/

I am lucky that in the UK diabetes medication/insulin is available without a cost. However, in India diabetes medication can cost more than 25% of a family’s income, and this financial burden means that unfortunately for some families it can become a choice between feeding themselves/other children, and paying for medication.

The Pendsey Trust, was formed in the UK in 2013, and has fundraised for the Dream Trust, providing resources to enable access to medical care and treatment, and has funded educational/training opportunities for older diabetic children/adults, which will enable them to be able to self-fund diabetes medication. http://www.thependseytrust.org/history/

As part of my fundraising for Everest Base Camp, I would like to sponsor a diabetic child’s medication in India, and request that you help me achieve this aim.

For now, am assuming a child we sponsor a child for 15 years (diagnosed diabetic aged 6, and sponsoring until aged 21).

Medication cost is ~£200 per year (it upsets me that for <£1 per day, diabetic children cannot receive the medication which would keep them alive); which means my fundraising goal for The Pendsey Trust/Dream Trust is £2500, with Gift Aid bringing total to £3000.

To help break this down into smaller chunks, £50 funds a diabetic child’s medication for a quarter; and £20 for a month.

If this goal can be surpassed, I would love to sponsor educational/training opportunities for older diabetic children/adults and/or provide equipment to allow insulin to be kept cool and therefore effective.

  1. Unfortunately, all Type 1 Diabetics can only manage diabetes, there is still no cure.

90 years ago there was no treatment for diabetes, and unfortunately diabetes diagnosis was effectively a death sentence, and therefore I am so grateful that insulin was discovered. Over the last 20 years, there has been improvement on the insulin types and delivery methods, as well as for blood glucose testing, which makes better diabetes management possible.

It would be great that within a century of insulin being discovered, we had found a cure. JDRF is the largest funder of Type 1 Diabetes research in the world, and seeks to improve lives, until the cure is found. http://www.jdrf.org.uk/about-us

My fundraising goal for JDRF is £1000. To break this down into smaller chunks, every pound funds a minute of the most ambitious type 1 diabetes research in the world, therefore £30 pounds funds half an hour of the world’s best Type 1 research.

Whilst my initial fundraising target of £3500 may seem high, it is far less than the metres in altitude that I will gain whilst trekking in the Himalayas and in reaching Everest Base Camp!  This is only a fundraising target, and I hope these targets are surpassed, as every pound raised will help find a cure and provide funding for diabetic children living in poverty.

Both JDRF and The Pendsey Trust are both fantastic in the work they do for Type 1 Diabetics, and therefore both equally deserving of donations. The only reason I have set a higher initial fundraising target for Pendsey is because sponsoring a child’s medication is dear to my heart, has an immediate impact and needs to be maintained for the duration of childhood; and my longer term wish remains that a cure is found, which I believe JDRF will help achieve.

Over the coming months, I will liaise further with Dr Pendsey and will receive details on the child that we are sponsoring. I am looking forward to finding out more about the child, and will keep donors informed…stay tuned.

As always, and in line with previous fundraising that I have undertaken, I seek your assistance in helping to raise Type 1 Diabetes awareness and am extremely grateful for any donations to either or both the Pendsey Trust and/or JDRF. I am self-funding the Everest Base Camp trek, and therefore every pound donated goes directly to these amazing charities.

(before I started writing, didn’t realise that I would have this much to say…well I am new to this writing thing, and interested in your thoughts/comments-PM me on facebook)!

Dilan Snowdonia

Thank you for joining me to Help Find a Cure, and in sponsoring a Type 1 Diabetic Child’s Medication.

Will be launching fundraising pages shortly, and more blogs coming soon – stay tuned for more…

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s