Melanie Stephenson is young British sprinter, from Gabalfa, Cardiff, with type 1 diabetes
Melanie, who treats her diabetes with an insulin pump , has regularly run for Wales in the 60m, 100m and 200m sprints, picking up a number of national titles.
Melanie was born in 1998 and developed type 1 diabetes at 13 years old. She initially took up sport as a way to keep healthy and control her blood glucose levels but took so well to running that she soon had her trainer to help her compete at a national and international level.
In 2012, Melanie was invited to carry the Olympic torch through Cardiff and past Cardiff Castle.
Melanie was nominated as an Olympic torchbearer by Diabetes UK Cymru in recognition of the voluntary work she has dedicated to the charity.
In addition to her sprinting career, Melanie has studied fashion at the University of Wales, Newport and designs sports performance wear for a number of track and field athletic events.
Diabetes management as an athelete
Melanie has found managing type 1 diabetes within a strict training regime has been a challenge. In her second year at University, Melanie started to become insulin resistant and was put onto metformin tablets to help the management of her diabetes.
In 2008, she prepared to go onto a pump, which required establishing a strong knowledge and understanding of carbohydrate counting
Since moving onto the pump, in March 2009, Melanie’s HbA1c (a measure of her overall diabetes control) improved greatly.
Previous to being on the pump, Melanie’s HbA1c had been as high as 9.7% but on the pump Melanie has been able to achieve a healthy HbA1c of 6.3% which has made her feel a lot of better and has helped her training.
Melanie is a great inspiration for young sports people with diabetes , performing at a top level as well as giving talks and presentations about sport and diabetes to childre, parents and to the media.