Read stories from our hero fundraisers. Whether it’s running, cycling, walking or jumping, we’re lucky to have people push themselves to the limit and join us in fighting for a world where diabetes can do no harm.

A photo of Joanne standing on a stone bridge by a river, smiling to camera

JoanneFound out she was at increased risk of type 2 diabetes after completing the Know Your Risk tool.

Raising money for Diabetes UK

I got into outdoor swimming in May 2020, during the first lockdown. I'd enjoyed indoor swimming before but couldn’t do that anymore during the early days of the pandemic. I started going with a friend and quickly became addicted! We built up an amazing local community of swimmers, which inspired me to swim more regularly in the river.  

Signing up to Swim22 

My daughter knew how much swimming I was doing anyway and shared Diabetes UK’s Swim22 challenge with me, which I decided to do in 2021.  

I committed to the challenge, where you swim the equivalent of the length of the English Channel in 12 weeks, and thought it would be easy since I already loved swimming. I ended up swimming loads more than I usually would and really pushed myself to finish it. I raised £324 and felt really proud of myself. 

One of my big inspirations to do the challenge was my close friend Steph, who lives with type 1. Seeing the tech diabetes tech she uses, I just think it’s an amazing way for people with diabetes to improve their lives and have less hassle day to day.

Seeing how things have changed since my grandad was alive is just astonishing. He would have been diagnosed probably in the 1930s or 1940s. He had to use massive needles for his insulin, which had to be sterilised daily, and I remember my grandmother using old-fashioned weighing scales to religiously portion all his food. Things have come on massively since then and funding research into these technological advancements was a massive inspiration for me to fundraise, so it can keep going. 

Read Joanne's complete story
A selfie of Milesh and his wife smiling at the camera

Milesh LakhaniDiagnosed with type 3c diabetes in 2021.

Getting family involved

I did the One Million Step challenge last year and it became a bit of a family affair. My children, who are now eleven and nine, did a million steps between them, and my parents got involved too. I do enjoy the challenge and it’s good to have a goal and something to motivate you. I enjoyed it so much I signed up again this year, as has my wife, sister, and brother. We will be doing the London Bridges Challenge at the end of September as well, as a family. I also did the London to Brighton cycle ride, which I loved and managed to raise over £2,000.  

My daughter comes for walks with me to get our steps up, which is really nice. Both my children have an awareness of my diabetes and will frequently check in to make sure I’ve taken my insulin. I think my diabetes has had an impact on those around me. My family have also made lifestyle changes, as they know how important it is. 

Advice for others

Living with diabetes needs constant attention – it’s a 24-hour a day condition and there’s no getting away from that. You also need to take your diagnosis seriously, as if you don’t then you put yourself at risk of complications 

A lot of mental energy is taken up thinking about what you can and can’t eat. However, my message for others, especially those wanting to make changes to their diet and lifestyle, would just be to keep going. You are bound to have rough days. Sometimes you wake up and just want to be able to eat and drink whatever you want, and not worry about anything. But consistency is really important – if you have a wobble with food that’s ok, just get back on track.  

I feel in a good place now and my hope for the future is to stay healthy and raise greater awareness of type 3c, so more people understand the condition.     

Read Milesh Lakhani's complete story
Linda wearing an every step counts t-shirt holding a certificate saying stepping superstar

Linda Potts-Neate

Different approach

Last year, at my community centre I held a raffle and put a collection box there too. And I raised quite a lot from that as well as online fundraising.

But this year, I’m thinking of other ways to raise money. I like photography, so I might buy some cheap frames and do a photo sale.

On my Facebook page, I do a post every week or two and tag in everyone’s name starting with A the first week, and B the next, so I cover everyone individually, and I get quite a few donations that way. 

Read Linda Potts-Neate's complete story


Unexpected generosity

I was happy and shocked at how generous my friends were in sponsoring me. One of my friend’s husbands who sponsored me last year said he’s so proud, he will donate £100 to Diabetes UK if I get to my target weight. It’s good to know that that the money will help a lot of people with diabetes and be put to good use.

I registered for the 2022 event as soon as registration opened, but I’ve never left the Diabetes UK Million Step Facebook group! I love the fact that everyone is there for the same purpose, like a little community. I like the camaraderie. It’s good for sharing tips too.

Good footwear is my tip 

I like telling people about my new memory foam shoes. Feels like heaven when you put them on your feet. They’re very light and you can throw them in the wash. My feet hurt less and I can walk much better and further because they’re so comfortable.

Read Denise's complete story
Helen Brown in garden smiling


Raising funds for a good cause

We want to raise as much as we can but I like to think every step counts and every pound counts. If you tell people what you’re doing they’ll support you. You don’t realise how many people are proud of you. 
I told the butcher what I was doing and he was so impressed and he donated £10. I’ve had strangers donate through family too. I just keep sharing my page online and make sure I keep my progress and story updated. It’s hard when you’ve done it for a few years but sometimes it’s about raising awareness. If it comes up in conversation, I’ll tell people what I’m up to. 

I donate to myself each month; it was a promise to myself that I’m going to do this. It’s not much but it encourages me to keep going. 
The rewards are great too. The medal is very important to me as it’s like a memory. I’ve got the medals on the wall next to a picture of David. It’s like a celebration of his life. I just wish he was here, but the challenge is such a positive thing, it’s given me something to work towards. 

I’m so glad I found the challenge; I just wish I’d found it sooner.  



Sign up for the One Million Step Challenge today.

Read Helen's complete story
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