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My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Swansea woman to take on colossal 100km challenge for Diabetes UK Cymru

Lara-Jayne Hooper and her boyfriend Rob Davies

A woman from Swansea is getting ready to hike 100 kilometres for Diabetes UK Cymru to raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes.

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Lara-Jayne Hooper, 27, is taking part in this summer’s Jurassic Coast Challenge, walking more than 60 miles over two days from Poole to Bridport in Dorset.

Lara’s boyfriend, Rob Davies, 29, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes aged 10.

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Type 1 diabetes is a complex, lifelong condition where the body cannot produce the hormone insulin, which controls the amount of sugar in the blood. No one knows exactly what causes it, but it’s not to do with being overweight and it isn’t currently preventable.

Lara said, “Rob is very sporty but finds it difficult to manage his diabetes alongside his active lifestyle. He plays rugby for Hendy RFC but sometimes feels that it limits how well he can perform on the pitch, as he finds it hard to keep his blood sugars level when playing sport. We ran the Swansea Bay 10K together last year and he dashed into a coffee shop part-way through to get something to eat, as he could feel his sugar levels dropping. It’s hard seeing him struggle but I do my best to encourage him.

“I really believe more needs to be done to help people with Type 1 diabetes manage. I’ve seen just how crippling and exhausting the physical and emotional impact can be. I hope that taking part in this challenge will help Diabetes UK Cymru provide support for others like Rob, as well as fund more research into Type 1 diabetes.”

Type 1 diabetes affects around 19,000 people in Wales and must be carefully managed day-to-day. It is treated by daily insulin doses – taken either by injections or via an insulin pump.  People with Type 1 diabetes also need to check their blood glucose levels are not too low or too high by using a blood glucose testing device several times a day. It is also recommended to follow a healthy diet and take regular physical activity.

Lara, a partner in a solicitors firm in Clydach, has been training hard for the challenge, which takes place on the 8th and 9th of June.

Lara continued, “The training is intense. It’s like training for a marathon. I am training five times a week with two long walks back-to-back at the weekend. I hope to get up to 22 miles before the challenge itself.

“It can be difficult to fit it around work but Rob has to manage his Type 1 constantly, every day. Knowing what he has to go through motivates me to keep going.”

Joseph Cuff, Fundraising Manager, Diabetes UK Cymru, said, “Managing Type 1 diabetes and an active lifestyle is tough, but with the right support, there is no reason why people with the condition should not be able to enjoy being active and even play sport at an elite level.

“We’re so grateful to Lara for taking on such an enormous challenge with her 100k walk this summer. Every step she takes and every penny she raises will help us to continue to support people across Wales like Rob who are living with diabetes.”

To sponsor Lara, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lara-hooper.