Nicola Gray walked eight miles with her partner and their dog to raise money for Diabetes UK (Photo by Nicola Gray)
Diabetes UK, a charity supporting people who are living with diabetes, organised an eight-mile fundraiser walk in Glasgow to raise awareness and money for one of the UK’s most pressing health challenges. Participant Nicola Gray has shared her motivation and experience taking part in the walk.
On Sunday 11 June, Glasgow hosted the Wellness Walk. Hundreds of people raised money for the charity Diabetes UK and ultimately for everyone who is living with this serious condition. Nicola Gray was one of them. The 24-year-old shared her thoughts on the walk before and after the event.
How to take part in Diabetes UK’s Glasgow Wellness Walk
Because a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise can be beneficial to the health of people with and without diabetes, Diabetes UK encourages people to come together to move. The charity organises annual fundraiser walks all over the UK and anyone interested can sign up online.
Anyone keen to go for an eight-mile walk could register and take part, including children and dogs. The registration fee is £10 and while there is no minimum sponsorship requirement, Diabetes UK encourages participants to aim for £150. The fundraiser walk takes place every year and anyone who is considering joining the 2024 Wellness Walk can register their interest in next year’s walk shortly.
Nicola’s motivation to take part and raise money for Diabetes UK
Nicola signed up to participate in her first Wellness Walk. She decided to tackle the walk with her boyfriend and her dog. Together, the three of them are supporting the charity because they know about the seriousness of the disease.
Nicola said: “My best friend’s mum was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when I was really young and she struggled with it for quite a few years. So, I really wanted to do this to help her raise awareness, especially because she can’t do the eight-mile walk herself, so it feels like it’s something I can do for her.”
Seeing the severe impact that diabetes had on her friend’s mum, Nicola shared that she wants to get involved in the Glasgow Wellness Walk and learn more about diabetes to reduce the likelihood of getting a type 2 diabetes diagnosis herself.
Diabetes is a serious condition that can affect anyone
People who suffer from diabetes have a condition where their blood glucose (sugar) levels are too high and their body cannot produce sufficient, effective, or even any amount of insulin. There are many different ways to treat diabetes which range from insulin injections to tablets to lifestyle adjustments.
Medical professionals distinguish between two main types which are called type 1 and type 2 diabetes. For people suffering from type 1 diabetes, it is a lifelong condition whereas people with type 2 may go into remission.
More than one in 12 people in the UK is affected
Diabetes is not rare. According to Diabetes UK, in 2021-22, more than 4.3 million people live with the condition. It is estimated that the number may be above five million, but not everyone with diabetes has been diagnosed. With so many people affected by diabetes, the NHS is spending about 10% of its budget on this chronic disease.
Diabetes UK offers a tool that can give people an insight into their risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Click here to learn more about your risk of developing diabetes. However, if you worry that you may already have the condition, this tool is not for you and you should contact a medical professional.
How to spot typical diabetes symptoms
As a nurse, Katie Fernando has dealt with countless patients suffering from diabetes. She said: “There are four main signs that someone might have diabetes and especially in children and young people there are other signs that we look for. The main signs are people drinking a lot more, passing urine a lot more, losing a lot of weight and being more tired.”
Everyone experiences diabetes differently. Katie said: “Everyone’s symptoms are different. Some people might feel tired or shaky or cold. And if they have low blood sugar – the way it’s often described to me by people that I have looked after in the past – it’s a hunger, but it’s beyond a hunger.”
Unfortunately, the health condition is sometimes unavoidable. Katie explained: “Anyone, any age can get diabetes. You can be more likely to get diabetes if someone in your family is diabetic and you are more at risk if you are overweight or if you have underlying conditions. Something that you can do to reduce your risk is to look into healthy lifestyles, so for example more walking and eating a balanced and healthy diet.”
Walk the Glasgow Wellness walk route
On the morning of 11June, hundreds of people travelled to Glasgow’s west end to do exactly what Katie recommended for a healthy lifestyle: Walk.
The Glasgow Wellness Walk started and ended in Kelvingrove Park and took participants on a journey along some famous Glasgow sights such as Glasgow Cathedral and Glasgow Necropolis. The track also led people through Glasgow Green and along the river Clyde.
Diabetes UK provided participants with a map and a t-shirt and welcomed everyone with a medal at the finish line. And after a long walk, there was time for a so-called wellness celebration which “included a range of free taster sessions and the opportunity to buy healthy food.
Click here to access Diabetes UK’s complementary Wellness Journal with tips about the walk as well as about physical and mental well-being.
Nicola tackled the Wellness Walk and made it to the finish line
In just over three hours, Nicola completed the Glasgow Wellness Walk. Nicola said: “I had such a fantastic day at Glasgow Wellness Walk. It was really exciting to walk alongside so many other people who were all there to support such a good cause. Although it was a bit of a challenge, especially on such a warm day, it was really rewarding to cross the finish line at the end of the day.”
She added: “I think it’s a fantastic way for Diabetes UK to raise money. It helped to get me out of the house and active and it was a reminder of how important it is to stay fit and healthy. All of the volunteers were incredibly friendly and encouraging. I would definitely recommend joining next year to anyone interested.”