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Caldicot woman taking one million steps for Diabetes UK Cymru

A woman from Caldicot who has been living with Type 1 diabetes for almost 25 years is taking on this year’s One Million Step Challenge for Diabetes UK Cymru.

Ebony Hussey, 28, was diagnosed with the condition aged three. She is taking part to raise greater awareness of the challenges of life with the condition, increase her fitness and raise funds for the charity.

The challenge takes place between 1 July and 30 September and invites people to push themselves out of their comfort zone by taking one million steps over three months and get sponsored for every stride.

Ebony will have to walk over 10,000 steps a day to reach her million.

Ebony, a procurement manager at an insurance company, said, “I became unwell when I was three. Luckily my mum spotted the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes straight away as my brother, Mitch, had been diagnosed with Type 1 four years earlier. My parents tested my blood sugar levels using his equipment and took me straight to hospital.

“Due to my family’s knowledge of the condition, they decided there was no need for me to stay overnight. We even went on our family holiday to Spain that weekend as planned!  I remember watching Mitch learn to inject insulin at the age of six. When it was my turn he would inject himself with no insulin, to show me it didn’t hurt. He showed great courage to help his little sister get through it.

“Although I’ve been living with Type 1 diabetes for almost 25 years, I still have ups and downs. I struggled as a teenager and just wanted to be “normal”. Managing my diabetes through pregnancy and raising my son, Theodore, was harder than I ever expected, and lack of awareness is still a big problem. People stare when I am taking medication or say, “you can’t eat that, you’re diabetic”. Now I try and educate people as much as possible.”

Type 1 diabetes is a serious, lifelong condition where blood glucose levels are too high because the body can’t make a hormone called insulin. No one knows exactly what causes it, but it’s not to do with being overweight and it isn’t currently preventable. It is treated by daily insulin doses, taken either by injections or via an insulin pump.

People with Type 1 diabetes need to check their blood glucose levels using a blood glucose testing device several times a day. This is important because over a long period of time, high glucose levels in the blood can lead to the development of complications. But with the right treatment and care, the long-term effects of diabetes and high glucose levels can be managed.

Ebony has experienced complications over the years, including problems with her sight.

Ebony continued, “In 2017 I developed diabetic retinopathy. Despite numerous sessions of laser treatment, my right eye hemorrhaged. This resulted in me losing vision in that eye for a number of months and needing an operation to stop me from going blind. The operation was successful but caused me to lose partial vision permanently. But through thick and thin, my overall control of my diabetes has improved and I am determined for it to continue to do so.

Ebony, who currently walks around 4,000 steps a day, will more than double that for the challenge. She added: “With a full-time job as well as a 22-month old little boy, finding the time will be tricky. My partner, Lee, family, friends and colleagues have all been really supportive. I’m feeling confident about hitting my target and getting fitter.”

Joseph Cuff, Fundraising Manager, Diabetes UK Cymru, said: “We’re really grateful to Ebony for supporting our work to fund groundbreaking research, care services and campaigns that can change the lives of those living with diabetes across Wales.

“The One Million Step Challenge is perfect if you want to take steps towards a healthier you. You can take on the challenge alone, or better still, get your family, friends and colleagues involved. You can walk it, jog it or dance it. How you complete your steps is up to you. The money you raise while you do it will fund our fight for a world where diabetes can do no harm.”

To sponsor Ebony, visit https://step.diabetes.org.uk/pages/ebony.