1. I’m running again.
    And wondering why I’m doing it. Again.
  2. I’m undertaking a challenge of endurance. Not a very sexy word. But one which has become a huge part of my life these past six years.
  3. My son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at six months old. I will be running six years to the day of his diagnosis. That was, comfortably, the worst day of my life – being told your son is going to die is not something you ever recover from really. The joy/relief that he is still with us, the ghost of living and seeing our worst nightmare coming true. It stays with you, close by, always. My wife told me recently that she finds it hard to look at photographs of him, it’s almost as if, they are mementos as she can’t believe he’s still here. It’s not the first time she’s articulated exactly what I’ve been thinking.
  4. As tough as that time was, I remember, very clearly being told that George was going to survive by the consultant. He told us that he would recover fully. But he would have Type 1 diabetes for life. I had no real understanding of the condition, I didn’t really care… he was going to live and I felt nothing but exaltation. But the consultant fixed the gaze of my wife and I, before telling us that we were about to face the toughest challenge of our lives. I didn’t audibly scoff. I definitely inwardly dismissed him as an idiot. Had he not seen what had happened in the walls of that intensive care unit. It had been five days, I had lost almost two stone, my wife had been drawn and quartered with fear and horror. What was he talking about?
    But he would prove to be right.
    The hardest part in those early days was accepting the permanence of the situation. I point blank, refused to allow the thought that George would be fighting this condition for the rest of his life. I did not have the emotional or intellectual capacity to cope. Since George had arrived, the number of my deficiencies in both areas was alarming. I was, to put it frankly, too much of a man. Or at least I was trying to be.
  5. George’s birth was incredibly difficult. Tracy’s labour lasted well over two days. And during that time, I felt a helplessness I’d never previously encountered. When George was diagnosed that feeling returned, and was even more agonizing. I remember willing there to be something to ‘fight’. Something to hit. Anything. At least that would give me a feeling of worth, the comfort of knowing that I was doing something. Showing that I was doing something. On both of these occasions all I did was talk a lot. Throw empty words of reassurance/encouragement. It made me feel oddly pathetic.
    The biggest challenge with Type 1 Diabetes is that you don’t get to fight and hit your opposition. You don’t get to win. There are no moments of heroism. All you do is roll with the punches. Chase the balloon. Keep getting up. It will constantly crush you down. Exhaust you. And make you feel that you cannot carry on. But you must find a way. Not waste time and energy feeling sorry for yourself, put other people above yourself and just keep trying and trying.
    Sleep deprivation is one thing. Being woken by an alarm on his CGM four to seven times a night, takes its toll. Sometimes you’ll wake 12 times a night – the alarm going every twenty minutes – it’s a form of torture used in Guantanamo Bay, but for a Type 1 parent, it’s your average night. You may take all the hits yourself. Try and protect your partner – there’s heroism in that, isn’t there? But you’ll wake and find she too, was up three or four times that night. And that feeling vanishes. Or maybe she’ll be with him in the day while you work, his set may have failed and she may have driven into the school three or four times. Or he had a low that was so bad that she had to hold him to stop shaking and do everything she could not to weep as he looked at her. Despite your night time heroics, you will see your wife looking like she can’t carry on anymore and nothing will make you feel less of a man than that.
  6. It has been an incredible battle of endurance caring for George these past six years. There have been no victories. But we’ve hung in there. Kept getting up. And kept putting one foot in front of the other. Which is exactly what I’ll do on September 30th. I have run long distances before and any time I’ve puffed my chest out and tried to ‘beat’ the run or to ‘win’ I have ended up in a complete mess. Endurance takes responsibility, care, measure, calm… not very sexy at all. Certainly not very ‘manly’ but I have come to realise that being a man, or trying to be one has got me nowhere fast.
  7. George’s diagnosis is not, actually, forever. The advances in technology and medicine in the six years he has had Type 1 have been remarkable. There is a running joke among Type 1 parents that a cure is always ‘5 years away’. This is the estimate given by many clinicians/experts when press is released on the condition. But everything from smart insulin to the artificial pancreas to a BCG vaccine that may reverse the condition – all of these discoveries mean that a cure will come. But all of these areas of research and trials require funding. If enough people join together and say they want to end this condition then it will happen. Everything good that ever happened in this world begins with an individual. One person does not accept a situation – ‘not on my watch’ they say and change is set in motion. Everything from free speech to women’s rights began this way. And it’s the same with finding a cure for Type 1. Yes, we’re reliant on brilliant clinicians, researchers, doctors… but they are reliant on us. I lied a little bit when I said you can’t fight this condition. You can, a little. By being active and trying to contribute. So this run is my very weak attempt and throwing a hay maker in the direction of Type 1. I’m a really weak non-man, you know this now, you’ve read it all. So I need some back up against this bully. I hope you’ve got my back!
  8. Save the date!!
  9. Come and join us on the day. 30th September 2017, Ham Gate, Richmond Park, London TW10 5HD