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117 %
raised of £20,000 target
by 113 supporters
Benjamin Rolfe avatar
Benjamin Rolfe

Ben & Emily are hoping to finish the MdS still speaking to each other!

We are running the Marathon Des Sables for Diabetes UK because Diabetes is the fastest growing health crisis

117 %
raised of £20,000 target
by 113 supporters
  • Team members: Emily Rolfe
  • Event: Marathon des Sables 2017, 08 Apr 2017

Diabetes UK

We provide the vital support people need to ensure they don’t face diabetes alone.

Charity Registration No. 215199


Run 250km across the Sahara Desert, carrying all your own food, sleeping gear, medical kit, anti venom pump, distress flare, signalling mirror......sounds like fun! Daughter#1, Emily, came to me 2 years ago with this crazy idea of doing the Marathons des Sables together once she was old enough.

Temperatures will range on average from 5 - 50 degrees centigrade through the night/day. Emily will only be 16 when she attempts this enormous challenge, one of - if not THE youngest ever female to attempt the race. Training is currently straining our relationship to the limit at times, and bringing us closer than ever at others. If we survive, and complete, this challenge then it will ensure we have an even more unbreakable bond, or we might never want to see each other ever again. Think parent/child driving lessons!

We had our places confirmed on Christmas Day, and training is now firmly underway. With such a big challenge ahead of us, we thought we'd raise money, and awareness, for a cause close to both our hearts. 

As you may know, the Rolfe family's world was turned upside down when daughter #2, Alice, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on 23rd December 2013. Whilst the French way was to sweep it under the carpet and throw medication at the problem, the UK charity Diabetes UK helped us enormously with the practical, mental and emotional aspects of the condition. With their ongoing help and education we - and especially Alice - are able to take control of diabetes, and not the other way around. 

Managing diabetes is a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week job, and the consequences of getting it wrong are severe - blindness, amputations, premature death.  Diabetes management currently costs the NHS £60bln / year, and that number is growing. It is estimated that the number of people with Diabetes of all types in the UK will increase from 4 million today, to 5 million in 8 years time. These numbers are equivalent in France and other western countries. 

Diabetes UK not only help with the practical, mental and emotional aspects of diabetes management, but they are also at the forefront of diabetes research, as well as spearheading the drive into diabetes prevention of all types of diabetes. Diabetes UK has been a tremendous help and support, not just to Alice, but to the whole family. But it is not out of gratitude that we’re doing this. Diabetes is on the increase, not just in the UK, but around the world. Diabetes UK is leading efforts into research, developing treatments and improving ways people live with this life-changing condition. Our continued support for their work is vital if we are, one day soon, to live in a world in which diabetes can do no harm.

When you consider all that, the mere 7 day, 250km trot across the Sahara Desert that daughter #1 and I are undertaking, carrying all the food and equipment we need including sleeping bag, clothes, 7 days worth of food, emergency medical supplies, etc etc. 

Emily and I have set ourselves a target of £20,000. That’s what Diabetes UK needs to fully fund a new and very complex piece of technology – a combined transmitted light and fluorescent microscope and imaging computer. This will help the charity unlock the secrets to one of the most devastating, and potentially lethal, consequences of diabetes – kidney disease.

Over time diabetes attacks the small blood vessels in the body. And kidneys, which are full of small blood vessels, are particularly susceptible. About 30% of Type 1 diabetics develop kidney disease and as many as 40% of Type 2 diabetics. This machine will enable their team of research scientists to study kidney cells and find new ways of treating kidney disease. The cost is £23,500. However, thanks to the efforts of local groups, Diabetes UK has already raised £3,500.

But they still need £20,000 to fund this machine. It would be great if you could help us raise it!

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

With your support we can help tackle one of the most devastating consequences of diabetes.


  • Fine tuning kit!