In March 2019, three young girls arranged to meet up in the town of Pwin Oo Lwin in northern Myanmar. They were different ages, had different hobbies and went to different schools, but they had one thing in common: Type 1 Diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes is an incurable condition that strikes indiscriminately. If untreated, it is fatal.
However, with access to insulin and blood testing equipment, it can be effectively managed. It was with this knowledge, and inspired by A4D Challengers, that Theint and Cherry decided to teach Mickey how to ride a bike.
‘If it were not for A4D, I would not have friends the same as me.’
The three girls had met for the first time at an A4D Diabetes Family Camp in Mandalay. It was here that they learned how to best manage their Type 1 Diabetes, and how important exercise and diet are.
The friendships that these three young girls, aged 16, 13 and 12, forged through Action4Diabetics have remained strong. So strong, that they decided to meet up and continue to share their experiences of living with Type 1 Diabetes and, in this case, cycling expertise.
But why did Mickey want to learn how to ride a bike?
Cycling is a great way of managing your blood sugar levels. Jerry Gore, our co-founder, knew this organised the first A4D Cycle Challenge in 2016.
At the A4D Diabetes Family Camps, we share the stories of our A4D Challengers, who take on physical challenges like the A4D Cycle Challenges to raise money for young people like Cherry, Mickey and Theint Theint.
One such A4D Challenger is Andy Penn.
Andy is an avid cyclist with Type 1 Diabetes who lives in the UK and knows how important exercise is for managing his condition — watching videos of him like the one below obviously made a significant impact on the Theint Theint, Cherry and Mickey!
Not only has Andy helped to raise money for their insulin and blood testing equipment, he also become a role model.
Future A4D Challengers
According to Cherry and Theint Theint, Mickey ‘can now cycle very well’. Together they exercised all morning!
When they finished they checked their blood sugar levels and saw they were all low, so they decided to cook a healthy lunch: another top-tip learned at the A4D Diabetes Family Camp.
Theint Thient has already told us that one day she wants to work for Action4Diabetics. In January, she sent us a letter, saying that she wanted to ‘reach the top of life’ after the A4D Diabetes Family Camp.
We are very proud of Theint Theint, Cherry and Mickey for being courageous and positive in the face of adversity.
For the first time, young people with Type 1 Diabetes and their families in South East Asia are beginning to realise they are not alone in their struggle. At A4D Diabetes Family Camps, they make friends and learn that there are people, sometimes as far away as the U.K who care. They hear about the A4D Challenges, and they feel motivated to not only survive, but thrive.
The work we do would not be possible without the support of both individuals and our corporate partners. Not only donations, but the ACTION of taking part in an A4D Challenge truly helps to transform lives.
Where would Theint, Cherry and Mickey be without your support? It is difficult to say.
There are 400,000* people living in the UK with Type 1 Diabetes, including the Prime Minister and international sports stars.
A4D currently supports nearly 400 disadvantaged young people with Type 1 Diabetes across South East Asia. We are at the start of a long journey as there are still many young people who need our help.
Please help us take the next step on this journey.
Enjoy Cycling? Want to become an A4D Challenger?
Anyone can become and A4D Challenger.
Last year we raised over $70,000 on Vuelta De Los Pyrenees. Enough to support over 140 children with essential medication and Type 1 Diabetes care for a year. Be part of something special:
For a taste of what is to come, here is clip from the original ‘Italian Job’ cycle challenge in 2017.
- A4D Cycle Challenge 2019: Job done
- A4D Diabetes Family Camp, Kuching: Collaboration and Education
- A4D Healthcare Capacity Building: Angie Middlehurst educational visit
- Neev Renton: taking on 4015m, ‘Le Dôme,’ for herself and others
- A4D Diabetes Family Camp: First Educational Camp for Type 1 Diabetes in Laos