I think it’s fair to say 2020 has been a year like no other. Back in December last year, after twelve months of worldwide adventures, I cut my final travel plans short. Scrapping New Year celebrations in Sydney, I booked the next flight home to spend Christmas with my beloved Grandpa, who was sadly ailing. It was tough to lose our hero in February, and I was feeling pretty low even before Covid hit. But, with incredible support from family and friends, powering through two lambing seasons and a new job helped me to get my mojo back. Now life looks a lot brighter, and I feel like Laura again. I have definitely learnt the importance of opening up to talk about how you feel, and appreciating the little things in life, whilst you still have them. Now I really want to help others where and when I can.
Promoting Ways to Wellbeing
I work in communications and engagement for an NHS commissioning group, where I’ve been working with our HR team on a Ways to Wellbeing campaign. We wanted to give colleagues a boost - most of whom are working from home away from familiar offices, or have been redeployed to the front line. In hectic times of change, we’ve been able to achieve so much by working as a close-knit team, with all hands to the pump.
Working remotely during lock down
I'm working remotely from my home in Shropshire - a mixed family farm. Outside of my NHS role, I spend a lot of my time out on the farm helping to look after our flock of sheep and our cattle. It’s made me realise how lucky we are to have so much green space, especially when I think about friends and family locked down in city flats. It also helps to be surrounded by creatures who are completely oblivious to the worldwide pandemic!
Recently I've been promoting the Diabetes UK One Million Steps Challenge, which kicked off on 1st July, to raise awareness of type 1 diabetes. I live with this chronic illness which I have to think about constantly, and for so long didn't speak up about it. I think there is a real stigma around being ‘different’, especially whilst you are finding your way as a teenager. Type 1 diabetes is invisible most of the time, and I’ve never wanted it to be a big deal, so it’s easy for it to go unnoticed. However, I believe our huge daily battle should be recognised, and we should be proud of even the little accomplishments. The way I see it, every blood glucose check ‘in range’ is a win!
Stepping up for type 1
Back in June, I contacted a few friends with type 1 diabetes and roped in family members to get involved in the challenge too. Team type 1 was formed, and we’ve since raised over £5,000 for Diabetes UK. All of which will go towards treatment and finding a cure!!
For me, the best thing about this challenge has been the opportunity to meet up for socially distanced hikes across Shropshire with others in the same boat. It’s great just to get out of the house and see some different faces, especially those who know exactly what you’re going through and can offer tips and support.
Sharing our story
I'm using this opportunity to tell the world about the reality of living with type 1, how to spot symptoms and hopefully support those who face the same daily challenges. Our Team Type 1 story has been featured in our local newspapers, Shropshire Star and Bridgnorth Journal, and I’ve also given updates on BBC Radio Shropshire. All the kind messages of support have really kept us going on those unmotivated days!
Bring on the challenge
Considering myself a pretty active person, some days I still really have to make an effort to get all those steps in. I’m in awe of our team members taking on 1.7 million steps before the end of September! It will be a huge achievement to conquer the challenge, and know I have given back to Diabetes UK. The charity has been such a helpful source of information ever since my diagnosis, and particularly throughout recent months. Diabetes UK has been there with guidance and support, reassuring those of us with a chronic health condition in pretty overwhelming times.
Want to take on the challenge?
1 July to 30 September 2020
You do one million sponsored steps.
Our work transforms lives.
Together we end the harm caused by diabetes.