Posted on Monday 9 June 2014
A diabetes nurse at St Thomas’ is putting her skills to good use by supporting 19 young people with Type 1 diabetes to climb Africa’s highest mountain.
Siobhan Pender is part of a team of four medics who will be helping to keep the trekkers fit and healthy as they endeavour to raise awareness of the condition and reach Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit.
Siobhan says: “Type 1 diabetes is the less well known form of the condition but its effects can be devastating. It is a disease where your body doesn’t produce any insulin.
“We see lots of young people who struggle with the disease because they can’t be spontaneous. You have to take your medication (insulin injections) up to five times a day and check blood sugar levels regularly. Long term there’s also a risk of developing problems with your kidneys and eyes and other organs.
“I really wanted to be part of the challenge to help these brave young men and women achieve their goals. One day I hope there will be a cure for the condition and that we find a way of preventing the disease.”
Around 400,000 people in the UK live with Type 1 diabetes including 29,000 children. It is not caused by lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise.
Siobhan will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro on 14-24 June for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
To find out more about Type 1 diabetes visit www.nhs.uk