Middleton Cheney family keeps running for diabetes cure

Sharon Darke and her son Samuel
Sharon Darke and her son Samuel

A Middleton Cheney family have set themselves a challenge to run 1,000 miles in a calendar year to raise money for charity.

The Darke family are attempting to raise £500 for JDRF, a type 1 diabetes charity, after their son, Samuel, was diagnosed with the condition in April last year.

The family were on holiday when Samuel started showing the symptoms of the condition.

His mother Sharon said: “It was a complete shock and has taken some getting used to. We were on holiday in Florida at the time he started to show symptoms, mainly thirst, weight loss and going to the toilet a lot.”

Not a great deal is understood about the causes of type 1 diabetes but the condition effects 400,000 people in the UK with over 29,000 of them children.

Type 1 diabetes is classified as an autoimmune condition, where, for reasons unknown, a person’s immune system will attack the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.

Insulin is crucial in transporting the glucose or sugar in your blood stream obtained from the digestion of food, into the muscles and organs that need it. A lack of insulin results in high blood sugar levels which can damage nerves, vessels and organs.

After Samuel’s diagnosis the family decided that they were going to run 1,000 miles in a 12-month period. Running was already a passion for the family as Sharon explained: “We started Banbury park run together when it started over 18 months ago in September 2014. We run it most weeks. Samuel has continued with his very active lifestyle and we have managed to fit the diabetes around it.”

Samuel, a year 9 student at Chenderit School, is now managing the condition and continues to be involved in sports on a daily basis.

Sharon said: “Samuel now uses an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor which helps us manage his diabetes considerably. His school has been greatly supportive since he was diagnosed and our hospital has been amazing.”

The family have ran numerous five and 10 kilometre fun runs and have just 16 miles and two weeks to go to reach their target. They have also raised £400 of the £500 target for their chosen charity. You can sponsor them at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Sharon-Darke.