Nothing will stop me climbing Kilimanjaro – by Leah Drewitt


Leah-Drewitt-150x150I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2010 when I was 19 years of age. I was in my first year of university and had great difficulty with incorporating diabetes into my daily life, especially with exercise and social activities. However, I was determined to control my diabetes and not let it control me, a philosophy I still hold and live by today.

When I was first diagnosed I thought my life would be so limited and adventures like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro would be impossible. I was so wrong, thanks to all the amazing research and support from Diabetes UK and the NHS, anything is possible!

To mark the occasion of being diagnosed for five years, my boyfriend came up with the idea of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. He sees first hand what somebody with Type 1 diabetes goes through on a daily basis and wanted to give something back to such an amazing cause. We are hoping to raise £4,400 for Diabetes UK and are enjoying our fundraising efforts.

The challenge is taking place in January 2016, where we will climb the Lemosho route taking nine days. I am extremely excited for this adventure, although apprehensive. Even though I have been training since August and following a weekly training plan that has been suggested for Kilimanjaro from Charity Challenge, you can never be sure how your body will respond to the challenge and also the altitude.

My training plan consists of two to three walks a week, increasing in duration and intensity. I also do an aerobics class and pilates and when possible swimming. Training has been hard. It has been difficult to fit in the training alongside working full time and social activities, but the main challenge has been my blood sugars and avoiding hypos. Not only do I have to consider hypos during the training, I have also had to be mindful of hypos a few hours after the training as my body is re-fuelling.

I have worked hard with my diabetes nurse (who has been so supportive) and am so appreciative of my insulin pump! I do not think all this would have been possible without the wonders of temporary basal rates! Having said that, the training has been fun and I have been fortunate to go on some lovely scenic walks. It is always a pleasure to train (once I get the motivation for doing it) and I always feel better afterwards. When my blood sugars are in range, it makes it so much better. I have some long hard months ahead as the training intensifies and the nights draw in, but nothing will stop me getting up that mountain!

Leah and Jimmy’s Just Giving page

Fundraise for Diabetes UK

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