A NEWTOWNABBEY nurse who was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes has decided to take on a special challenge to raise awareness of the disease.
Karen Law will run the Belfast City Marathon on Monday, May 7 in aid of local charity Diabetes UK Northern Ireland.
“As a nurse, I did recognise the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes but when I heard the diagnosis I was still taken aback,” said Karen.
“I knew that I was more thirsty than normal, I was running to the loo more frequently, I was really tired all the time and I had lost a lot of weight so it made sense that this was diabetes.
“I really don’t want Type 1 diabetes to get in my way or define what I can and can’t do so that is why I am running the Belfast City Marathon.
“I am a really active person so I think this will help me manage my condition and I know how important it is to stay as fit and healthy as possible.
“When you hear ‘lifelong condition’, ‘no cure’, ‘serious complications like blindness’, it is really easy to get swept away by it all and feel powerless.
“I have only been diagnosed a few months so there will probably be days I feel like that ahead but for now I want to keep focused on the marathon.
“I want to help raise awareness about diabetes and that it can strike at any point. I hope there are other people who are living with diabetes who will help me raise awareness and get involved. It doesn’t matter which type of diabetes you have, we should all be supporting one another and help people to understand the condition more.
“I am really looking forward to the challenge ahead and will learn so much about my diabetes as I train and complete the marathon.’
Diabetes UK Northern Ireland National Fundraiser, Naomi Breen, said Karen’s commitment was a real inspiration to other diabetes sufferers.
“It is so inspiring to learn that Karen was only diagnosed in December last year and is now taking on the Belfast City Marathon,” she said.
“Diabetes is a complex condition and can have differing impacts on us. Karen is determined to take diabetes on head-on and help motivate others who may be struggling with their diabetes.
“Diabetes UK thinks it is really important to know diabetes in order to fight diabetes and we want to support people throughout their diabetes journey.
“It is fantastic that Karen recognised the 4Ts of Type 1 diabetes and took action quickly. Remember: Toilet, Thirsty, Tired, Thinner, and if you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms then don’t delay, ask the doctor about Type 1 diabetes.”
If you would like to support Karen, take part in the race, walk or fun run then you’re invited to go online at fundraising@diabetes.org.uk.