A woman from Senghenydd with Type 2 diabetes is line dancing her way to one million steps this summer to support Diabetes UK Cymru.
Lynn Matthews, 70, is taking part in the charity’s One Million Steps Challenge. She will have to walk – or dance – more than 10,000 steps a day in order to reach a total of one million by 30 September, getting sponsored for every stride.
Lynn was diagnosed with the condition in 2001. She said, “I had to go to the doctor for some routine tests. While I was there, a nurse checked my results and asked me how long I had had diabetes. I told her that I didn’t know I had it.
“It was quite a shock but looking back, once I knew the symptoms, I had been very tired. I had three children and one of my sons is severely disabled, and my daughter had a rare metabolic condition, so I put my tiredness down to looking after them. I also have a number of family members on my mother’s side with Type 1 diabetes and four of my cousins have Type 2 diabetes.”
Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. People might get Type 2 diabetes because their family history, age and ethnic background puts them at increased risk. They are also more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if they are overweight.
There are around 191,000 people in Wales living with diabetes, the highest prevalence in the UK, and 90 per cent of those have Type 2. It is estimated that a further 60,000 people in Wales are living with Type 2 diabetes but are yet to be diagnosed.
Lynn continued, “I find managing my condition okay. I was initially prescribed tablets and started taking insulin injections five years ago. Like everyone I go through phases and some days are tougher than others, but I try to stay positive.
“I am very active and was looking for a new challenge; something to give me a bit of a kick and some more motivation. I thought One Million Steps would be perfect.”
Lynn isn’t just walking her way to one million: she line dances three times a week and has found it fantastic for clocking up steps.
Lynn continued, “I have lots of hobbies and have been line dancing for 23 years. I am a member of three different classes and attend regular social nights including Loud and Proud Line Dance Social in Bedwas, Lazy R’s Country and Western in Ystrad Mynach and Bandolero Country Music in Hirwaun. I can reach as many as 6,000 steps in one evening. If I’m not going out, I’ll often put some country music and dance in the house. It all counts towards my total!
“Having a goal to reach each day really spurs me on. I’ve already reached 800,000 steps and raised more than £500.”
Joseph Cuff, Fundraising Manager, Diabetes UK Cymru, said: “We’re really grateful to Lynn for taking on this year’s One Million Step Challenge in such a fun and creative way. It’s fantastic to see she is already well on her way to her one million total!
“You can take on the challenge alone or get your family, friends and colleagues involved. You can walk it, jog it or, like Lynn, dance it. The money you raise while you do it will fund our fight for a world where diabetes can do no harm.”
To sign up for the One Million Step Challenge go to www.diabetes.org.uk/step