Chloé Bullen

Chloé's One Hundred days of Spinning

Fundraising for Diabetes UK
raised of £500 target
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Diabetes UK

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We are fighting to make a world where diabetes does no harm


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I have decided to set myself personal challenge in the New Year in an effort to raise money for Diabetes UK. Diabetes, more specifically Type 1 Diabetes is and will always be a huge part of mine, my family and close friends' lives. My journey with Type 1 Diabetes has been my inspiration for this challenge, after overcoming many obstacles along the way. I intend to complete 100 online spin classes over 100 days. After plenty of practice during lockdown and with the support of online fitness groups I feel ready to take on this challenge, although I'm not sure if my legs are so keen! 

Type 1 diabetes, or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic, life-long condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. We all need Insulin to  allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy, energy which we all need to survive. 

Type 1 Diabetes is a result of an auto-immune destruction of insulin producing cells in the pancreas. The exact cause is unknown, but different factors including genetics and viral infections may contribute to type 1 diabetes. Although type 1 diabetes usually appears during childhood or adolescence, it can also develop in adulthood.

Despite ongoing research, type 1 diabetes currently has no cure.

About 8% of people with diabetes in the UK have type 1 diabetes. It’s a serious and lifelong condition

Treatment focuses on managing blood sugar levels with insulin, diet and lifestyle measures to prevent chronic, long-term complications. Diabetics are at risk of eye problems (retinopathy), nerve damage, foot problems (neuropathy) which can ultimately lead to amputation, kidney problems (nephropathy), cardiovascular complications such as heart attack, stroke and gum disease along with numerous other associated problems. It's important for diabetic patients to work together with their health care teams to manage diabetes well in order to prevent and delay the onset of these complications. 

My type 1 diabetes story 
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1DM) at the age of 15. At this stage, neither myself or my family knew anything about type 1 diabetes and the impact that the diagnosis would have on our family. 

Several years later, plus the added diagnosis of T1DM for my younger brother, we all now consider ourselves experts through experience. 

The early days after diagnosis were very much a blur. It was a steep learning curve with lots of trial and error. There was Information overload, sore fingers from continuous blood glucose testing, bruising from multiple daily injections, tantrums, and fatigue. There was so much conflicting advice on what you should and shouldn't eat and pressure to manage diabetes well.   

Fast forward a few years, I was off to start University. Those who are close to me will know of the struggles we suffered at this time. At this stage in my life I had very little concern with regards to managing diabetes. At times, I did everything in my power to conceal my diabetes, hide it from friends and other students. I purposely omitted my daily injections and stopped all regular monitoring. At first it felt empowering, I finally felt that I was in control of diabetes. Only now in hindsight, do I realise that I was not in fact 'invincible' and that diabetes had control of me. After the years of self neglect, self denial and difficulties accepting my diabetes, my health soon started to deteriorate. At first glance, I was a young, healthy female at the start of adult life. The reality was very different. As a result of neglecting my diabetes I developed I serious complications, leaving me struggling to walk, neuropathic pain, dizziness and even and my vision was affected. After months of investigations, I was told I had autonomic neuropathy - another long term complication of diabetes relating to poor control.  

This was a turning point in my journey with T1DM. I knew I had to take back control. I turned to my family, friends and online forums for support. I was referred to a specialist in Sheffield, whom I am very grateful for their ongoing care and support. I did a lot of my own research and funded my own diabetes technology to support and manage my condition. In recent years I have learnt so much about T1DM and how best to manage diabetes. I have been battling these complications and working extremely hard towards improving my prognosis and long term health goals. I am so grateful for the support of my team, friends and family and feel that together we have and continue to make great progress. Together we are resilient. 

One of the reasons for this challenge is to raise awareness of mental health and associated eating disorders linked to diabetes, including diabulimia. There is very little accessible support for people
struggling with mental health and eating disorders associated with diabetes. I'm aiming to improve wider understanding of both the physical and emotional aspects of diabetes.

Diabulimia is an eating disorder that only affects people with Type 1 diabetes, it's when someone with T1DM reduces or stops taking their insulin to lose weight. When you have Type 1 diabetes, you need insulin to live. So without it, there can be life-threatening consequences.

I want to raise money for Diabetes UK for their continued research. Research into new Diabetes technologies that can help transform the ways we can manage the condition, and their continued efforts so that one day there may be a cure. 

About the charity

Diabetes UK

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Diabetes UK is the charity leading the fight against the UK's devastating and fastest growing health crisis, working to create a world where diabetes can do no harm. It’s a fight that involves all of us – sharing knowledge and taking diabetes on together. Join us.

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