Amanda Croall


Fundraising for Diabetes UK
raised of £20,000 target
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Event: Baxters Loch Ness Marathon 2013, on 29 September 2013
Participants: 120 Sugar Rushers!
Diabetes UK

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



Welcome to our Sugar Rush page 2013 and a huge thank you for taking time out to read over our story!


Sugar Rush is about to embark on its 4 annual Loch Ness festival of running event in September of this year! And it’s thanks to all of my amazingly supportive friends and family that Sugar Rush has been such a huge success! Exciting! The team effort, camaraderie, competition, fun and memories that come with it are so special and unforgettableJ


It all started in 2010 with about 10 of us wanting to do something to mark me being so ‘sweet’ for 20 years! A huge achievement!  So we all decided to run the Loch Ness / Baxters 10km and managed to raise £1600, which was well over our target! Somehow, the small squad of 10, has grown massively each year, not only in numbers but with after parties, auctions and raffles, bringing in new friends, family, friends of friends, life scan employees and now specially for me, other amazing and truly inspirational Diabetics J


This year, we are now sitting at 120 runners! An unbelievable 12 competing in the Marathon, 80 + in the 10K and 20+ in the 5km. Darren K  is going for a double challenge with the 10km & competing in the ‘Tough Mudder’ in August, he’s nuts!


Sadly, last year I organised much of our event from my hospital bed, (not diabetic related, I’m just spoilt in the chronic condition department!!) and promoted myself to “Coach” for the team!  Not knowing if I would ever run again, I was devastated, but the sugar rush focus is what I needed to get me through. Watching all my amazing friends and family gather at roller bowl just for me, then head off to the start line at the IRA was sooooo hard L Totes emosh is an understatement!! But, tell me I can’t do something and ill try my hardest to prove you wrong!….So this year is extra special for me, I WILL be at the start line, get a PB and we are all going to rock it for DUKs xx


So, with this amazing team, I’m going to push the boat out and go for a target of £20,000!!  I’m confident and excited for our squad to take on this challenge and I really think we can do it!!! J


All money raised by Sugar Rush goes to our chosen charity, Diabetes UK.  They are the leading charity that care for, connect with and campaign on behalf of every person affected by or at risk of diabetes.  They fund pioneering research into care, cure & prevention. And hopefully, myself and my fellow diabetics will be here to see all of our hard work being paid off when they find us the cure we’ve been waiting for, for some of us, a long time! J


………23 years ago, on the 16 October, our family was blindsided by the diagnosis of Juvenile Diabetes. It struck me, the youngest of the family, 11 years old and completely innocent L


We were stunned. No one in our immediate families (and I have a huge family!!)– including Aunties & Uncles, Cousins or Grandparents -- had type 1 diabetes.  It never crossed our minds that one of ‘our’ family would ever be diagnosed with it.  But, suddenly, after months of degenerating illness, frustratingly misdiagnoses and hours from a serious Diabetic coma with DKA, I was rushed to the childrens ward at Raigmore hospital, just in time, and in these few hours, our lives had changed for ever L


It was devastating.  I can still remember the day and days to follow like it was yesterday. 


What we thought was as a “virus” turned into my parents worst nightmare. However, to begin with, I continued as normal, as 11 year olds do!  But, as the days and weeks passed, I was rapidly deteriorating. Classic symptoms of extreme thirst, (to the point where I ran away from school to get juice!) frequently in the toilet, complete lack of appetite, vomiting, extreme weight loss ( I was 3.5 stone in P7!), lack of energy, very sweet smelling breath ( my mum could smell it through the night when checking on me) and very scarily, I started to loose my sight…at one point I had to ask my brother what was for dinner as I couldn’t see what was on my plate L


It should never have got to this stage, especially having had 4 doctor visits, but unfortunately it happens and I am very lucky to be here to tell the story, raise awareness and hopefully raise mega funds for Diabetes UK , which will hugely assist in funding vital research and ultimately, a cure for type 1 Diabetes J


So 23 years on, thousands of hypos, a few hypers, now a carbohydrate counting expert, 25,000 injections later, 55,000 finger pricks, nearly 3,200 infusion set changes, good times, hard times, tears, 2 babies, resilience, strength, character and the thickest skin built from sheer ignorance, misconceptions and stereotypes, I’m still smiling!


Little did I know that being labelled as a “diabetic” would bring about a whole new set of challenges! Mere acquaintances questioned my food choices, many asking if I should be eating a certain food because, they said, I shouldn't have sugar! Others asking how I “caught” Diabetes!! Their ignorance and criticism astounded, disappointed  & frustrated me. Other people told me that they could "never handle" a disease like diabetes because they were scared of needles…mmm DITTO, but they didn't understand that without my needles (and medications), I would die!


Just for the record, you can’t become a Type 1 Diabetic from eating too many cakes or KFC!!


One fellow type 1 Diabetic who’s also running with Sugar Rush, has saved me from screaming at the top of Ben Nevis that there’s NOTHING we or anyone else could do to prevent getting Type 1!! Roddy Riddle is proof, he was an elite athlete & the fittest man in town or possibly the fittest guy you’ll meet (unless MO Farah makes an appearance this year!) Sadly he was diagnosed later in life, but he proves it can now happen to anyone at any age.  Running a 6 day Marathon in the Sahara desert with Type 1 proves that Diabetes doesn’t need to stop you being the person you are & he did it!  With Type 1 Diabetes, slightly more time needs to be dedicated to preparation, planning and self- management, but with extra determination & strength than your regular athlete, we can do it, and as Roddy and many others have proved, we can even do it better!


At times, 23 years of diabetes 24/7/365 becomes a bit of a chore to say the least!  I remember saying bye to one of my friends before we set off on our first holiday abroad after being diagnosed (a huge thing at the time). I had my Reebok pump bum bag on, haha, which had my syringes, insulin and glucose tablets in it.  He asked what was in it, I Ireplied. He then asked "do you still have to inject and do all that on holiday?!" Until that day I hadnt even thought about it, but it hit me, this was me always and forever, no breaks and no holidays from injecting & testing :-( Thankfully I was only 11, carefree and more excited about my new Reebok pumps to match the bum bag than anything else!!  But with the adversity, responsibility and hard lessons faced from a very young age, it makes me who I am today along with all the other inspirational diabetics I know.


Sadly, if injections, blood testing, carb counting, lows and highs wern’t enough, the fear of horrific diabetic complications are never far.  Neuropathy, Kidney & heart failure, blindness and something as frightful and life changing as amputation are to mention some. Poor blood glucose control and management put you at a much a higher risk of developing complications, but unfortunately, a very well controlled diabetic with as much as a cold can mess it all up!


My biggest worry has always been my eye sight, to miss my girls first days at school, their wedding days, sports days etc, it’s not an option for me! 23 years on, I do have minimal damage to the blood vessels in one eye but I have managed to keep it stable.  However, another year like last year and that could all change.


I count myself as one of the lucky ones working together with a superb Diabetic team caring for me every step of the way, through childhood, teenage years, uni, travelling, pregnancy, illness and still to this day. But sadly,for various reasons, not very diabteic has this level of care.


 I was one of the very first patients in Highland to be treated with an insulin pump and I can’t big it up enough, its benefits are endless and that was proved last year while I had to battle pneumonia & the complications that came with it.


But, Insulin pumps and education come at a cost, for the government, NHS & for specialised staff.  Amazingly, this past year, the number of patients receiving pump therapy has dramatically risen, allowing more children and adults alike live a better quality of life. Raising awareness of various aspects such as diagnostic symptoms and educating those already affected, has been developed hugely. It’s amazing and it’s all down to funding, research and campaigning from organisations like DUKS.


I didn't choose diabetes, I didn't earn it, and I don't deserve it. But I've learned to accept that diabetes is what it is. I have a choice: fight or submit. I choose to fight, and to do so with purpose, conviction, and determination.  I hope the ever growing SugarRush squad can help to raise awareness of Diabetes, its symptoms and its treatments. And ultimately, I hope I can help educate others to make the necessary changes in their lives to live well with diabetes and live life to the max! I live by the quote -  “Life’s only limitations are the ones we make” J


Thanks to organisations like Diabetes UK, treatment for diabetes has advanced incredibly and, hopefully, a cure is not far away. But one of the most important elements for final success is adequate financial support which, of course, is the purpose of Sugar Rush and all the athletes on Sep 29 J


Thank you so much for reading my storyJ  Let’s get that step closer to my biggest dream, a future without Diabetes!



Amanda and the Sugar Rush massive!! xxx








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About the charity

Diabetes UK

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 215199
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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