Well done Karen on your One Million Steps Challenge for Diabetes UK!
Our Housing Officer, Karen Galbraith, was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes when she was 8 years old and has lived with it for over 26 years. She has had a very turbulent childhood with it and spent a number of years in and out of Children’s Ward, Daisy Hill Hospital with Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which is a potentially fatal condition caused by high blood sugars. Thankfully due to the support of my family, friends, NHS staff and the advance in technologies she can say that she now has excellent control.
During lockdown Karen watched a video clip on Facebook of a little girl that had just been diagnosed with Type One Diabetes and she was learning how to give herself her insulin injections and the girl reminded Karen of herself many years ago. It broke her heart to watch as a mother and a Diabetic knowing the road she will have ahead of her. She knows this little girl and many other children with Type One Diabetes will have to grow up fast and toughen up ahead of their time.
Karen decided that she wanted to do something to raise awareness of the seriousness of this exhausting condition by telling her story and to raise much needed funds for research to help prevent more children being diagnosed in the future. There are over 4.5 million people living with Diabetes in the UK, the complications of which have lead to over 500 premature deaths every week.
She also wanted to show young Diabetics that there is absolutely nothing they cannot achieve living with Diabetes by taking part in the Diabetes UK One Million Steps Challenge. This challenge runs from 1 July to 30 September. She is taking this challenge further by aiming to complete before the end of August. To-date she has walked almost 400,000 steps by undertaking walks such as The Newry Greenway, The Carlingford Lough Greenway, Newry Tow Path, Newry to Rostrevor and has many more challenges planned ahead. Karen hopes to complete her millionth step at Castlewellan Forest Park as this is a special place to her. She spent 3 summers there as a child at the Diabetic Summer Camps and made many friends, including one special friend that sadly passed away 2 years ago. This last walk will be in her memory.
Karen would like to thank all of those who have kindly donated and supported her, to-date she has raised over £1,000. Anyone that would like to donate can do so at https://step.diabetes.org.uk/pages/karen-galbraith.