Two community diabetes nurses from Ceredigion have raised more than £10,000 for Diabetes UK Cymru this year thanks to an auction and sponsored cycle ride.
Novice cyclists Anwen Jones and Helen Saunders, Community Diabetes Specialist Nurses for Hywel Dda Health Board, cycled a total of 88 miles from Borth to Cardigan on Saturday 8 June.
The tough, winding route through the Ceredigion countryside passed through every surgery area that the nurses cover and took them more than nine hours to complete. The riders stopped off at GP surgeries they passed to drop off diabetes information packs.
They were inspired to take on the challenge by the patients they support, and had encouraged others to join them for some or all of the journey.
They were joined on the day by around 25 other cyclists, including individuals living with diabetes, and supported along the route by friends and family, Diabetes UK Cymru team members, as well as Lampeter’s Brownies and Girl Guides groups.
The ride raised a total of £4,500 thanks to generous donations from local companies and businesses, as well as bucket collections on the day.
Helen and Anwen kicked off their fundraising earlier this year with a dinner and auction at the Llanina Arms in Llanarth, which raised over £7,000. This takes their total amount to an impressive £11,500, beating their initial target of £10,000.
Anwen, 46, said, “We wanted to do something this year to raise awareness of diabetes locally, and support Diabetes UK Cymru, and set ourselves a target of £10,000.
“Many of the people Helen and I support are living with Type 2 diabetes and increasing their activity levels would really make a difference to their health. We hoped to inspire them to take on some or all of the cycle route, to kick-start a more active lifestyle and feel empowered to do more to manage their condition. We also had at least one cyclist with Type 1 diabetes join us, which shows that having Type 1 should not stop you taking part in physical activity.
Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. If not managed well, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications, such as sight loss, amputation, kidney failure and stroke.
People may develop Type 2 diabetes because of their family history, age and ethnic background puts them at increased risk. They are also more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if they are overweight. As many as three in five cases of Type 2 diabetes could be prevented or delayed by being more active, eating well and maintaining a healthy weight.
Wales has the highest prevalence of diabetes in the UK, with 7.4% of the population with the condition. In the Hywel Dda Health Board region this rises to 7.8%. 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2.
Anwen added, “While we had put in a lot of training, the ride was incredibly tough. I was so pleased to have the support of my husband, Phil, and my daughter, Ceris, who stuck by my side the whole time. It was fantastic to see so many people cheering us over the finish line and the feeling of achievement made it all feel worthwhile. We’re so grateful to everyone who donated to support us.”
Joseph Cuff, Fundraising Manager, Diabetes UK Cymru, said, “Helen and Anwen took on an enormous challenge with this difficult, hilly route, but completed the day with smiles on their faces and have raised a terrific amount in the process. We’re so proud of everyone who took part for all that they have achieved and very grateful to them for their efforts.”