London Bridges Challenge – by Kirsty Ralph
At the start of October my husband, myself, Simon and 6 month old Mia embarked on a journey to London to take part in the London Bridges Challenge for Diabetes UK. This was a very personal cause for me as I’ve being living with Type 1 diabetes for the past 16 years. I was diagnosed a week before my 10th birthday. I really wanted to give back to a cause that I know is vital and I was intrigued to see London in a new way by exploring it on foot.
The Challenge itself consisted of a 10 mile journey starting at Battersea Park, crisscrossing 12 bridges and finishing at Minister Court. We arrived at Battersea Park a little after 11am (although we’d left home in Luton at 8am, our train was delayed). We made a quick dash to the bandstand and managed to register, collect our T-shirts, snacks, and most importantly the map!
Ready, set, go!
A quick change, a family photo and we we’re off. The first couple of bridges weren’t too bad until Simon started struggling having hurt his knee the day before. He was more than happy pushing the buggy and Mia was loving looking around and napping in between. It gave me the chance to take lots of photos of iconic landmarks. We stopped for some lunch at Lambeth Bridge as we needed to feed Mia and rest our feet having walked a total of 4 miles. Around 1pm we reached the half way mark at Golden Jubilee Bridge. By now our feet and arms were starting to suffer a little from having had to carry a buggy up and down the stairs. We pushed on and an hour later we were coming up to the finishing line, having reached the tail end and my favourite London landmarks: the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral and Shakespeare’s Globe. With the end bridge very much in sight we pushed our weary feet and ware greeted by a lovely group of Diabetes UK volunteers who were cheering us on as we crossed the final bridge, Tower Bridge.
We had just one last challenge remaining… a 10 minute walk to the finishing line at Minister Court, passing the Tower of London on the way. We were clapped in and greeted by some of our family who made the trip down to meet us. It was a truly remarkable day having walked 10 miles in 2 hours and 30 minutes with a buggy. Mia and Simon were absolutely amazing and I was incredibly honoured to do this as a family especially as this is a very special cause for me.
A personal cause
Living with diabetes is hard. I’ve been living with Type 1 diabetes for 16 years and struggled a lot with the illness over the years. It affects so much of your life that you don’t realise. Over the years I’ve had to deal with the issues of hypos and hypers, the fear of DKA and unconsciousness, feeling dragged down by years of being bullied in high school, to dealing with injections, the stigma and lack of understanding from others. I wanted to give back and help Diabetes UK by raising as much money as I could, to improve the lives of those who have the illness, to be able to help with research and hopefully one day find a cure. I’m pleased to announce we raised £500 in total and I hope this helps in terms of research and one day a cure.
We had a very enjoyable day and I would highly recommend taking on the challenge. I would love to do it again next year. I’m now looking into a my first half marathon next year, maybe run the course instead of walking! Diabetes should never hold you back and I certainly won’t let it control me. Thank you to Diabetes UK for your incredible support!
We would like to thank Kirsty for writing this post and to all our supporters who took part in the London Bridges event in October. If you would like to take part in any of our fundraising events, please see the events page for more information. We look forward to seeing you and cheering you on.