Monday, 2 February 2015

The Big Heart Bike Ride update

Last year I wrote a post about how, in a mad moment, I’d signed up for a charity bike ride in India & was about to start training. The Big Heart Bike Ride will see the participants (hopefully) cycling 500km in 5 days from the Taj Mahal to the pink city of Jaipur, in Rajasthan. Now here I am 10 months later, after cycling over 1300 miles and climbing over one and a half times the height of Everest through the North Cornish lanes, training for this event! I leave on Friday & am currently feeling incredibly excited but also slightly terrified! 

I’m raising money for 2 charities, the British Heart Foundation and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I wanted to raise money for JDRF as well as the BHF because my eldest son has been a type 1 diabetic for the last 7 years.

Prior to January 2008 my only experience of type 1 diabetes was a vague memory of a girl I went to school with who always got to eat a Mars Bar during P.E. - I really had no other clue about it.

Seven years ago, almost to the day, Cameron (12 at the time) was with me on a trip to the Boat Show. All day he drove me crazy with his constant thirst. On the train back to Cornwall he drank over 2 litres of water & was still thirsty! I look back at these 2 photos & wonder how I could not have noticed his dramatic weight loss. They were taken less than a week apart & yet by the second photo he is sallow skinned & hollow cheeked. I thought he was just having a growth spurt.

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A few days later Cam collapsed during a football match. He felt sick & weak & we assumed he had a bug. We took him home & then he came out shopping in our local town with me. A concerned friend who fortunately had more knowledge of diabetes than me, who had heard about Cam’s funny turn & had witnessed his thirst a few days earlier, called & asked me if his breath smelt of pear drops. It did indeed & she said I needed to get him straight to hospital.

By the time I got him to Treliske he had been sick & we’d had to stop at a garage so he could drink another 3 litres of fluid. His blood sugar level was 75, which none of the doctors or nurses had ever seen. We were told that most people would be in a coma with sugar levels over 40. They thought the huge amount he’d been drinking had possibly kept him conscious. We were incredibly lucky. If he’d gone to bed that night with what we thought was a bug, he may not have woken up.

The next few days were a massive learning curve with so much information to take in. Discovering that Cam’s life was now dependent on insulin which would need to be injected 4 times a day & he would need to prick his finger & test his sugar levels numerous times a day was a terrible shock. He was such a big, strong healthy & sporty boy – how could it be possible?

Over the last seven years he has had his ups & downs. Suffering from type 1 diabetes is bad enough at any time, but through your teens is especially tough. He’s recently come back from 3 months travelling & had an amazing time. But preparing for the trip had many complications caused by all the meds he had to take. Did he have enough? Where would he keep them (they need to be kept in a fridge)? Did he have the right insurance cover? So many extra things to consider as a diabetic. He really is amazing though & takes it all in his stride, rarely complaining & just getting on with life.

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Cam on his travels, getting on with life as a diabetic!

Since he was diagnosed there have been many improvements in the diabetes drugs & equipment & there is often talk of a cure in the press. We will see, but the more money that can be raised for organisations like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the better.

This is why I am raising money for JDRF as well as the British Heart Foundation - I leave in 4 days!

I am well aware you are asked for money for charity all the time nowadays & so I’m not asking for you to donate large amounts, just a couple of quid will make a huge difference if lots of people donate. I’ve almost reach the 2K target that I set myself, but I’d like to raise more, because they are such great charities. If you think you would like to help please be so kind as to visit my fundraising page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SarahWickins 

Thanks so much in advance Sarah x

P.S. The normal exemplary service at Buggysnuggle HQ may be disrupted next week in my absense. Orders will be despatched as dodgy wi-fi allows! (please bear with me!)