A betting shop manager from South Tyneside has laced up his trainers to pay back to the charity that has helped him since he was diagnosed with diabetes.
Andrew Wade, 32 from Chichester in South Shields, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in October 2017 and has now taken part in Run26 – a marathon-in-a-month challenge for Diabetes UK.
Andrew decided to take part in the challenge as he wanted to give something back following the care and support he’s had from the charity in the past 12 months.
Andrew told the Gazette: “After I found I had Type 2 diabetes, I knew I needed to make some changes to my lifestyle.
"I improved my diet as due to my shift patterns, I’d often relied on takeaways and other convenience food.
"I started preparing meals in advance which made a big difference as well as walking more and this is what drew me to Run26.
"I wanted a challenge, something that would push me even further.”
The Run26 challenge pushed people to conquer the marathon distance of 26.2 miles over the 31 days of October, in their local area, in their own time.
Participants decided where and when they ran – in the street or parks, or complete the full marathon in their front room or gym.
Andrew says that his fiancée, Heather, has played a huge role in keeping him motivated and make the lifestyle changes.
“Heather has helped me make important changes to my lifestyle," he said.
"We plan meals in advance, eat less junk and convenience food and she came with me to the diabetes education course- she has really kept me motivated.
"That and the fact we’re getting married in March and I want to look and feel good on our wedding day.
“The challenge offered me something to work towards and it took me out of my comfort zone which is what I needed.
"My goal now is to take part in a 10k or half marathon race.”
There are an estimated 4.6 million people living with diabetes in the UK.
When not well managed, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to serious complications, including lower limb amputation, blindness and kidney failure.
There is currently no known cure for any type of diabetes.
Tyler Anderson, Diabetes UK regional fundraiser, said: “We’re really grateful to Andrew for supporting our work to fund ground-breaking research, care services and campaigns that can change the lives of those living with diabetes.”