As the UEFA Women’s Euro competition continues to heat up, with the Lionesses due to face Germany in the final this Sunday, we hear from Lucy Wieland, Group Liaison Officer by day and Women’s Project Leader with The Diabetes Football Community in her spare time.
Lucy is a passionate footballer, but whilst living with type 1 diabetes hasn’t stopped her from pursuing her love of the beautiful game, she acknowledges that it’s not without its challenges. Thanks to The Diabetes Football Community though, support is available. She says:
“I play for a local team, and my team-mates know I have diabetes, but I can still feel a bit self-conscious when I have to check my blood sugar levels, or go and get something to eat. And in front of another team, it’s just another stressor, wondering if they understand, am I going to have to explain myself again, when all I want to do is get back to the game.
“The Diabetes Football Community is a place where people with diabetes can come together to play both football and futsal, which is an indoor game with smaller teams and different rules, and feel part of an understanding community.
"We all check our blood sugars without having to worry about what others might think, and we take regular breaks to eat as needed. It feels a whole lot more relaxed, and we can focus purely on the game.”
The Diabetes Football Community (TDFC) was created in 2017 by Chris Bright, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1999, but still went on to gain a masters degree in Sport. He’s since played football to semi-professional level and became a Wales Futsal International in 2016. The purpose of TDFC is to provide people living with type 1 diabetes with a peer support network to help deliver further understanding and enjoyment from football. And our brand hero, Jon, is also a key member of the community, both as a player and a director on the board.
Alongside her day job, Lucy also fits in her work with TDFC and playing for her local team, as well as managing an under 11 girls’ team. She continues:
“When Chris was talking about setting up a Women’s Project, I knew straight away I wanted to be a part of it. We got started in 2019, but then of course we were held up by the small matter of a global pandemic. So consequently, we’re still quite a small bunch of women from all across England/UK, and that means travelling to have our meet ups.
“So now that we’re back out there and playing, the next goal is to attract more women with diabetes who love football to come and join our community. At TDFC Womens’ we aim to build a community that shares learnings, offers support and helps others enjoy participating in football and futsal whilst living with diabetes.
“We want to see teams of women all around the UK being able to play the sport they love, and being supported by a brilliant community who all get what it’s like to manage this condition at the same time.”
If you’d like to find out more about the Diabetes Football Community’s Women Project, please get in touch with Lucy Wieland on Twitter: @TDFCWomens
Pictures courtesy of Reaction Photography