A mum-of-two living in Pontypridd is taking on the Simply Health Great North Run, the world’s biggest half marathon, for Diabetes UK Cymru, in support of her dad who has Type 1 diabetes.
Jen Matchett’s father, David, 56, was diagnosed in 1991, age 29.
Jen, 32, a secretary at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said, “I was 10 when dad was diagnosed. He was a single parent and brought me up on his own. A colleague mentioned how much water he was drinking and suggested he get tested. Dad had just given up smoking so thought that was the reason for his increased thirst. He eventually went to the doctor after four months and that was when he was diagnosed.
“Dad is now 56 and doesn’t let diabetes affect his life; he just takes it as routine. He is still out racing motorbikes in his spare time and loves spending time with my daughters Joanie, 10, and Gracie, 6.
Jen, who ran her first half marathon in Swansea last year added, “Training is hard alongside full-time work and having two young children, but I’m trying to do as much as I can. I know what to expect this time. The girls have started joining me on my shorter runs too. I’m running with two friends which will make it fun as we will stick together and support each other. I really hope Dad can come to watch as he is my inspiration.”
Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition that affects around 19,000 adults in Wales. People with the condition don’t produce the hormone insulin, which is responsible for controlling the amount of glucose in the blood. Nobody knows what causes Type 1 diabetes and it isn’t currently preventable. If not managed well, it can lead to devastating complications, including lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke.
Officially the world’s biggest half marathon, the race will see over 50,000 runners take on the 13.1 mile route on Sunday 9 September. The route takes runners from Newcastle City Centre to the coast in South Shields, taking in some of North East England’s most famous landmarks, including the iconic Tyne Bridge.
Joseph Cuff, Fundraising Manager, Diabetes UK Cymru, said, “We’re really grateful to Jen for taking on this challenge for us in honour of her dad, David. It’s fantastic to hear how well he has managed his condition for more than 25 years.
“The money Jen raises will help us fund ground-breaking research, care services and campaigns to change the lives of people with diabetes across Wales, and their families. We wish Jen the best of luck for the big day!”
To sponsor Jen, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jen-matchett.
To find out more about taking part in the Great North Run for Diabetes UK Cymru visit: www.diabetes.org.uk/Great-North-Run.