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Guest Post: No Child Should Die of Diabetes.

Veerle Vanhuyse is off and running … literally.  Verlee lives with type 1 diabetes and is running the NYC Marathon in a few weeks, aiming to raise awareness and funds for the IDF’s Life for a Child program.  Today, I’m proud to be hosting a post from Veerle about her marathon goals!

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A quarter of a century it’s been already but it still feels like yesterday. About to turn 16 and counting the days to leave for France with a bunch of teenagers to learn the language. I hadn’t been feeling well over the last few weeks and my trip to France became a trip to the hospital. Diabetes! I took my very first shot of insulin on my birthday. Sweet sixteen indeed!

In the beginning, I did really bad, didn’t take care of it at all. Only in my late twenties(!), I took diabetes more seriously and got my a1C’s from 9+ to 5%.

Eighteen years and a child later, I started running. And in eight years time I went from 100 meter and being exhausted (I’m not kidding), to 5K, 10K, half a marathon and finally the full monster; Berlin Marathon 2012.

That sad girl back in 1987 would’ve never guessed she would be doing what I’m about to do in one month:  Being at the start of the mother of all marathons, New York City 2014!

Needless to say, I am very excited about this upcoming event. But make no mistake, there’s no such thing as knowing exactly how to anticipate with the sugars before a long run, or any run for that matter. Every workout is different, depending on so many factors all diabetics deal with every single day.

Three weeks before the Berlin marathon, I suddenly realized I should grab the opportunity to raise money for diabetes. And I did. 1.700 euro went to research at the University Hospital in Leuven, Belgium. But this time I wanted to do something more specific. It didn’t take me long to find a new great goal. Surfing the web for a few hours I found a wonderful initiative called ‘Life for a Child’ supported by the International Diabetes Federation. I read about Dr. Marguerite De Clerck, a Belgian nun who spent the past 55 years treating children with diabetes in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It instantly hit me! THIS was a project I immediately believed in and I wanted to make a difference for.  In the end my goal is comparable to the wonderful Spare a Rose, Save a Child campaign: Provide children and youth in developing countries the basic care they need to stay alive with diabetes.

So far, I raised 2.500 euro, and I’m working really hard to at least double this amount.  I’m hoping to help families in Kinshasa keeping their loved ones alive.

It is a clear message: No child should die of diabetes.

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I asked Veerle to provide a bio, and the one she sent to me in first person language was too laced with passion to edit in any way.

Here’s Veerle, according to Verlee:  “There’s the Belgian, so called ‘outgoing’ 43 year old, who talks a lot and who’s always in for a joke. And there is the T1 diabetic since 27 years, who can be really sad about the battle she has to fight against the disease every single day. “She deals with it really well,” people – even close to me – would say. They have no idea. One way to “deal with it” is running ! A lot! And in less than 4 weeks, I’ll be living my dream: NYC marathon ! Last race, because there’s also arthritis in my foot now. With this last 42,195km, I’ll be raising money for Life for a Child, to provide children in Kinshasa with the necessary supplies, proper care, and some decent education they need so badly. I am extremely passionate about it, and I want to scream as hard as I can: Please people, read my website and find it in your heart to donate, donate, donate!!!”

To donate to Veerle’s efforts, please visit this link on her websiteThanks for raising awareness, Veerle!

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Good luck in the marathon Verlee! Life for a Child is a very important organization. I have a link to it on my blog to hopefully raise awareness for its existence. I hope you reach your goal! 🙂

    10/10/14; 12:04 pm
    • Thank you, Stacey. It means a lot ! I hope not only for awareness, but also for as much financial support as possible. I am in touch with the sister in Kinshasa (from my website) and the every day horror she tells me about due to lack of proper diabetes care is beyond our imagination. Thx again

      10/10/14; 1:33 pm
  2. SashaW #

    Please know that I find your story extremely inspiring and I want to make sure I comment on that first. I particularly identify with your bio, the “dealing with it really well” part. We’re all dealing with it and dealing with it by way of anger or sadness (or helplessness) many times. But! We plow through and make it to the next day and start all over again 🙂

    My question for you is: HOW DO YOU WEAR YOUR SENSOR ON YOUR ARM?! I have a very similar build to yours, in that I have absolutely no fatty areas on my arms, and therefore have never worn my sensor there because I was certain I would inject it into the muscle. I’ve done that by accident (not paying close enough attention to placement) on my belly, where there are 2 tiny pockets of fat on either side of my belly button. And OMG did it hurt like a b****.

    Please please please, any insight, tips, tricks, or advice would be appreciated! My Dexcom has gotten increasingly less accurate as time has gone by and I can’t help but wonder if I’m wearing out those 2 little spots on my belly (3-4 years later).

    Good luck with the race! I know you’ll kill it 😉

    10/10/14; 2:24 pm
  3. Hi Sasha, thx for the encouraging words! I’ve always had my sensor in my arm, since 2008. Tried my belly, didn’t like it, especially since the transmitter got bigger in the G4. Upper arm works really well for me. I don’t even have to insert the needle too far towards the back of the arm to have something extra to grab. I stand against the door or the wall to create just a little bit of a bump and insert the sensor. It happened to me only once that I touched a vein, something you don’t know in advance’. It was quite painful and was bleeding a lot. I had to throw this one away. Apart from that, no problem, no muscle. Maybe I do have more ‘fatty areas’ than you ;-). Just give it a try. I hope this was helpful info. Good luck. 🙂

    10/11/14; 12:11 pm
  4. Loved this guest post. Inspiring! Much luck to you in NYC!

    10/13/14; 10:45 pm
  5. June S. #

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, and I wish you the very best of luck during the NYC Marathon! I, too, was diagnosed on my 16th birthday. That was in 1972, so I have lived with Type I for 42 years. Still no complications. I always wished I could run. I just don’t think I have the proper build for it. You obviously do. That is wonderful!

    10/16/14; 9:38 am
  6. Ahhh! Good luck, Veerle! I ran NYC last year (and Berlin this year, wheee!). Both races are super FUN and I hope you have a great time. Thank you for using marathon running to raise money for a terrific initiative!

    10/20/14; 11:35 pm

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