DRWF Fundraising: Managing the highs and lows of type 1 diabetes on a cross country cycling adventure
Published on 20 October 2020
Having cycled from London to Edinburgh in support of diabetes research Cameron Muir shares tips of how he kept his type 1 diabetes in control
London-based Cameron Muir recently acknowledged the landmark of reaching 20 years of living with type 1 diabetes by cycling from London to Edinburgh, in aid of DRWF.
Cameron was joined by a group of close friends for the fundraising challenge Abby Cammack, Tom Young, James York and Charlotte Holmes, covering more than 400 miles.
They set off from Dalston in London on 28th August and arrived north of the border to reach Edinburgh on schedule on 4th September.
Cameron said: “My grandmother, Dr Norna Cooper, who was one of my biggest supporters being a doctor herself, very sadly died earlier this year in April. I would like to raise money in order to help find the cure that my grandmother was hoping for and to help more young people like me who have been diagnosed at an early age.”
Cameron Muir on some of the techniques he used to keep good control of his blood glucose levels and self-manage his type 1 diabetes over the duration of the challenge.
Preparation – adjusting insulin doses
“The day before the trip I reduced my background insulin (Levemir) by 4 units in the morning and evening, to try to ensure that my blood sugar stayed above 4.0 mmol/l. Because I had my blood glucose monitoring device sensor on and my phone attached to the handlebars in front of me, I could even test my blood sugar whilst riding; something I wouldn’t have been able to do if I was pricking my finger. Therefore, I was regularly testing.
“We always had a lot of sugar on us, I would normally be stocked up with a few gels in my pockets and every morning the five of us would fill our water bottles up with a glucose powder. I would have to be careful that I didn’t take on too much at once otherwise I may go a bit high (blood sugar).
“Once or twice I felt a little unwell and noticed my blood sugar would be dropping fast. I would usually find that after breakfast, it would take a little time for the insulin to kick in and partnered with heavy physical exercise, blood sugar level can come tumbling down. Whenever I eat out (which I was doing for the whole trip) I find it difficult to take insulin before a meal because I rarely know what’s going to be coming out of the kitchen. In contrast to when at home I usually preload myself with insulin to ensure that levels stay flat.”
Time to think
“There was so much to think about when on the bike as you can imagine.
“For anyone who doesn’t cycle, you will have no idea how much energy and calories you burn. You are using the biggest muscles in your body, continuously for hours. And if you are fit, you won’t even realise you’ve burnt the calories while sitting on the bike. The moment you stop and get off, you notice. Some of the days we were burning up to 3000kcal a day. James and I both weigh 100kgs each and therefore would probably burn the most (and then eat the most when we got to the bed and breakfast!)
“Since completing the bike ride, I don’t think I have had any repercussions with my diabetes, my insulin is back at the amount I was taking previously twice a day. My legs however were not in the best shape; tried a slow jog the week after and could barely get my feet off the ground after 5km!”
Karen Scott, Community Fundraiser at DRWF, said: “During the lockdown due to Covid-19, when all our upcoming fundraising events were being cancelled, we were contacted by this amazing team of people who were planning to cycle from London to Edinburgh and raise money for DRWF.
“To say we were thrilled was an understatement! This challenge gave all of us at DRWF a sense of hope, and also something positive to focus on during a very uncertain period.
“Their original idea was to fund one of our pump priming awards and this motivated team have done it - an amazing achievement and fitting reward for all their efforts. Our grateful thanks go out to them, to those people who supported them along their journey and also to those who made a contribution to their fundraising. Your combined efforts are most appreciated.”
How do I make sure I’m exercising safely living with diabetes?
In order to prepare the body for exercise there must always be some kind of warm-up which involves gently raising the pulse and getting the muscles warm for 5-10 minutes before the main exercise activity. Instructor-led sessions will build this into the activity.
However, if you are exercising independently, and this includes doing heavy housework, DIY and gardening, remember to start the activity gently and build up.
It is also important to cool-down following exercise, to avoid feeling faint and dizzy and to help the body return to a resting state. Spend 5-10 minutes repeating the activities undertaken in the warm-up.
Extract information from the DRWF leaflet Exercise and diabetes
You can still donate to support the cyclists on their Virgin Money Giving fundraising page
Find out more about DRWF fundraising here
Fundraising for DRWF during the Covid-19 pandemic
During lockdown many fundraising events that had been scheduled for this year have been cancelled as a result of social distancing measures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Now more than ever we are relying on supporters to come up with novel fundraising ideas to support charity operations.
For example, we recently reported on the challenge set by the Rivinus family, who set a 26,000 steps challenge at their home in support of DRWF.
Karen Scott, Community Fundraiser at DRWF, said: “We are still supporting our research projects during the COVID-19 health crisis. DRWF does not receive any government funding and relies on voluntary donations to enable us to continue to support people living with diabetes and those who care for them.
“We also invest heavily into research, some of which is ongoing. In our last audited year, we invested 85p
of every pound spent into our charity aims and objectives.”
If you have a fundraising idea and would like to support DRWF we would love to hear from you. Contact us to discuss any ideas by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 023 9263 6138
DRWF operations during the Covid-19 health crisis
The DRWF team is now working remotely. Covid-19 guidance, particularly where it aligns or impacts with diabetes guidance, is shared as quickly as possible through the DRWF website and social media channels with theaim of making it as easy to understand as possible and a reliable source of latest news.