Graham Thompson's push to help other diabetics
A CHRONIC diabetic who was given a new lease of life thanks to advances in treatment technology has roped in family and friends to help raise funds for a leading health charity.
Fifteen relatives and friends of Graham Thompson, 38, will push him and his bed from Newcastle General Hospital to the Clayton Arms pub in Dudley near Cramlington next month, to support Diabetes UK.
Graham, who lives in Cramlington and has had type one diabetes for more than 20 years, hopes to raise ÃÂ£1,000 through the 12-mile sponsored bed push on Saturday June 12.
The severity of his condition meant he used to need four insulin injections a day and was having two or three hypoglycaemic episodes each day, when blood sugar falls below normal levels.
Symptoms of 'hypos' include feeling shaky, sweating, tingling in the lips, going pale, heart pounding, confusion and irritability. If left untreated they can lead to unconsciousness, hospitalisation, and, in extreme cases, can prove fatal.
Last summer Graham was given a special insulin pump to help him manage his diabetes better, replacing the need for injections and delivering varied doses of fast-acting insulin throughout the day and night via a tube.
It is the size of a pager which is attached to his belt and has proved so successful in enabling him to deal with his condition that he decided to hold the sponsored bed push for Diabetes UK.
Yesterday he said: "Before going on to the insulin pump my diabetes was so out of control.
"I was having two to three hypos a day, and it got to the stage where I was worried about going out.
"Since being fitted with the insulin pump I have been given a new lease of life. I'm more confident with my diabetes control and no longer feel restricted to limiting my diet to manage my condition."
Money raised by the bed push will help the charity to continue promoting the benefits of insulin pumps, and ensure they are a choice for anyone who can benefit from them. Graham, who can no longer work due to his condition, has a type of diabetes that develops if the body is unable to produce any insulin.
Ann Rowe, regional fundraising manager for Diabetes UK Northern and Yorkshire, said: "Graham's sponsored bed push is a great way of raising awareness of diabetes and insulin pumps. Insulin pump therapy is currently under utilised in the UK."
People can support Diabetes UK by sponsoring Graham's bed push at www.justgiving.com/sponsored-bedpush or by organising their own fundraising challenge and promoting it on the Diabetes UK Challenge website - www.diabeteschallenge.org.uk
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