I have decided that since it is the year of the Dragon that I should pluck up the courage and take on a challenge that I have always wanted to do - the Great North Run!
The BUPA Great North Run was set up thirty years ago and is the world's biggest and most iconic half marathon. Every September 54,000 people take part in the 13.1 mile race that takes them from Newcastle Upon Tyne to South Shields on the coast.
I will be running this marathon for Diabetes UK since a number of my relatives and family friends have this condition. According to statistics there are close to 3 million diabetics in the UK, not including the undiagnosed. The number of British Chinese with diabetes is unknown at this stage, but it has be reported that the number of cases in China has risen exponentially -so much so that China is now considered as the 'diabetes capital of the world' (Reuters; BBC).
The impact of diabetes (糖尿病) on life is huge. You must always take into strict consideration what you eat - alcohol and smoking is a no-no. You must keep check on your blood glucose levels several times a day, everyday. You must also to inject yourself with insulin every time before or after you eat or drink. This makes going out or going on holiday difficult as you will need to have access to your insulin and other medicines with you at all times and if you are caught short you are in serious trouble, especially if you abroad. Being diabetic also means that your immune system is not as strong as that of a healthy person (if a healthy person catches a cold they have it for a week at most; someone with diabetes catches cold they could have it two or three times as long). You are also less able to handle physical and mental stress - both impact on your blood glucose, insulin and adrenaline levels that can go wildly out of control. All in all, diabetes affects your everyday living.
At present the only treatment is to keep taking insulin and the associated medicines - a huge responsibility for the people concerned. However, work is being done to find a permanent cure. There are also preventative measures you can take to help reduce the chance of developing diabetes. I hope that by taking part in this challenge I can help raise awareness. I will be providing some more insight into diabetes, the preventative measures you can take, as well as my training progress - this is my first marathon and the biggest physical challenge of my life!!!
So please wish me luck. If you would like to sponsor me I have a Justgiving page where you can make secure donations online.
Symptoms of diabetes include:
- Extreme thirst
- Needing to go to the toilet a lot, especailly during the night
- Fatigue and sudden drowsiness, fainting spells
- Unexplained weight loss and loss of muscle bulk
- Cuts and sores take longer to heal
- Taking longer to recover from illnesses
- blurred vision
These symptoms can be an indication of something else, but it pays to be on the safe side. Please go to your doctor if you are at all in doubt. A small blood test is all that is needed to check your diabetes status.
Thanks for reading! :)
Diabetes UK (Chinese)
BUPA Great North Run