Two teenagers with Type 1 diabetes took on a 12,000-foot skydive for Diabetes UK Cymru, to show that the condition will not stop them reaching new heights.
Kara Clarke, from Port Talbot and Amy Brown, from Pontardawe, were both diagnosed with the condition aged 12. They became close friends after meeting at Type1derful, a Diabetes UK Cymru family support group.
Now both 16, the girls will soon be moving from paediatric to young adult clinic and wanted to mark the transition with a special fundraising challenge.
Kara said, “I went to the doctor for something unrelated. He noticed my lips were dry and suggested I drink plenty of fluids. My mum told him I drank a lot already. He did a finger-prick test and immediately referred me to hospital. I was diagnosed later that day. My world was turned upside down.
“Neither of us were aware of the common symptoms of Type 1 diabetes, such as being thirsty, needing the toilet, feeling tired and getting thinner, or how serious the condition can be.
[/aoa]“Learning to balance everything has been tough. No two days are the same. Amy and I use insulin pumps and Continuous Glucose Monitors, where are brilliant and help us keep a close eye on our blood glucose levels to avoid hypos.”
The girls’ families were told about Type1derful soon after being diagnosed and joined straight away.
Kara continued, “Being part of the group is amazing. We have made new friends and learn how others deal with the condition. It arranges trips and days out for our families, which is great as Type 1 has a big impact on our whole family’s lives. It also offers our parents lots of advice and support. They’re like a big family to us.
“Amy and I will soon be moving to the young adult diabetes clinic. We wanted to do something big to thank the group for all the support since we were first diagnosed and help them continue to support other families. We also wanted to show that Type 1 does not define us and that we can do anything we want to – including jump out of a plane!”
The girls and Amy’s dad Gareth Brown completed the skydive on Sunday 4 August at Swansea Airport.
Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition that affects around 19,000 adults and 1400 children 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.
Joseph Cuff, Fundraising Manager, Diabetes UK Cymru, said:
“Our family support groups are a real lifeline for families all over Wales, offering friendship, information and advice from those who really understand the challenges involved in life with Type 1 diabetes.
“It’s fantastic to see Amy and Kara have formed such a close friendship and refused to let their diagnoses hold them back from truly reaching for the skies! Congratulations to them both on completing such an incredible challenge.”
To sponsor Amy and Kara, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/karaamyskydive.
Type1derful supports families of children with Type 1 diabetes across Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot. For more information, visit www.type1derful.btck.co.uk.
For more information on Diabetes UK Cymru’s local support groups, visit www.diabetes.org.uk/in_your_area/wales/support/local-groups.