Big Davy’ Ballantyne did the unthinkable; he dragged an anvil up Goatfell Mountain -the highest peak on the Isle of Arran.

Why take on such a brutal, unforgiving task? To represent the struggle that his 10-year old daughter Roísín faces with her type 1 diabetes.

Iron man

Goatfell Mountain is 2,866ft high, that’s 874m up, and the anvil weighs 19-stone or 120kg.

Factor in the steepness of the mountain and how rough the terrain is and it’s no mean feat at all.

54 year-old Davy worked alone using planks of wood to shift the huge iron weight up the incline. He managed to drag the anvil around 500ft each day and then came back the next to keep on going.

After 24 long, hard days, Davy reached the summit and his gruelling task was complete.

I needed something that was going to be a real struggle, because that’s what diabetes is.

Davy’s not wrong. Whereas Davy’s challenge was a huge physical strain, type 1 diabetes is a huge mental strain.

You’re needing to make critical dosing decisions each day and even basic parts of living such as eating, physical activity and even sleeping require careful consideration.

The challenge of type 1

Davy will no doubt be aware that his challenge has a number of advantages over having type 1 diabetes:

  • Davy chose to do his challenge, type 1 diabetes offers no such choice -you have to fight or it fights you
  • Davy had some time to prepare for his challenge, type 1 comes on without any warning
  • Davy was able to rest between his anvil shifting shifts, type 1 offers no such rests
  • Davy’s feat lasted only a mere 24 days, type 1 diabetes is for life

Now I don’t mean to say that dragging an anvil up a mountain is anything short of a monumental task but neither is type 1 diabetes.

Davy’s challenge which has a certain similarity to the myth of Sisyphus in which Sisyphus had to ceaselessly roll a boulder up a mountain only for it to roll down and have to start the next day. Like Sisyphus’s challenge, type 1 diabetes can often feel like it starts from scratch every day.

Raising money for research

Davy has already raised over £13,000 for the JDRF to carry out research into type 1 diabetes to help to find better treatments, and maybe one day a cure, for his daughter Roísín.

If you wish to support Davy’s cause, visit Big Davy’s Anvil Challenge on Just Giving and send in a donation to support the challenge and further type 1 diabetes research.

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