A man with type 1 diabetes is ending 2018 knowing he has improved the lives of children with type 1 diabetes.
Earlier this year, Andy Penn cycled more than 750km across the Pyrenees in six days to help raise money to provide insulin and blood testing equipment for young people with the condition in South-East Asia.
Andy, an IT consultant, was 24 when he was diagnosed with the condition, which he said at the time was a “bit of a shock”.
Despite finding out he had type 1 diabetes, Andy did not let it stop his passion of road cycling get in the way.
He said having daily access to medical supplies for his condition, allowing him to continue with his hobby, made him realise how lucky people in the UK are to receive insulin on prescription.
“We’re so lucky in the UK to have the National Health Service. You get all that provided [medical supplies and medication]. You don’t even have to think about paying for it. That’s quite incredible and something we take for granted.
“I’ve often played through scenarios in my mind about not having insulin. It’s quite frightening and made me realise there are people in the world – something you don’t think about in this country – that don’t have access to insulin, monitoring equipment, the most basic things that I had access to when I was first diagnosed.”
Realising how fortunate he was, Andy decided he wanted to help others and planned his trip, choosing to raise money for Action4Diabetics (A4D), a charity that supports those with type 1 diabetes in South East Asia. So far, he has raised nearly £600.
Writing on his Just Giving page, he said: “If left untreated, type 1 diabetes is hugely debilitating and eventually fatal to kids who develop the condition early on in their lives. Unfortunately, children in underdeveloped regions of SE Asia (including parts of Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand) simply do not have access to the healthcare and education they need to survive this manageable condition.
“By providing education for kids and their families through ‘Diabetes Camps’ and treatment through sustainable supplies, A4D has already enrolled 125 kids with type 1 diabetes onto their programmes, and continue to work tirelessly in an effort alleviate the suffering of more children and their families.”
You can donate to Andy’s cause here.