I’ve tackled the first of my ten epic challenges

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Airdrie mother of three, Ruth Elliot, has just completed a 17 day trek of Mount Everest, the first of ten epic challenges in support of diabetes charity JDRF

12th April 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

The start of my challenge marked the 10-year anniversary since my youngest son, Ben, became ill at just 17 months old.

We realised Ben wasn’t being a typical wee boy. He used to be a ball of energy and literally overnight, he’d lost weight and was just lying still.

My nine other epic challenges include cycling from London to Paris, abseiling off the Forth Road Bridge and tackling 10 Munro’s in a weekend. Previously, I raised over £26,000 for JDRF through climbing Mount Everest and Kilimanjaro, as well as taking part in the Compass Challenge.

Everest was tough. It didn’t help that the group were struck down with a vomiting bug and at that point I was ready to throw in the towel as the homesickness also kicked in.

However, I just thought I’d come this far and I was doing this for Ben. After giving myself a good shake, I really enjoyed it.

Ruth Elliot

Ruth Elliot

As I’m a vet I was able to use urine sticks and it was then I had an idea it was diabetes. I phoned our doctor who referred us to A&E where Ben lost consciousness. This was on a Monday but he rallied round and by the Friday we were ready to go home.

However, when we left the hospital we were given a pack and left to get on with it. There were no instructions, we had no idea what we were doing and how to monitor the condition and how much insulin to administer. We were literally foundering in the dark.

My sister is a medic and could guide us, and my mum learnt how to give injections in case myself or my husband weren’t at home, but it’s from that experience that I knew I wanted to wipe out the condition so that my little boy could return to his carefree toddler self.

Now a pupil at All Saints Primary in Airdrie, Ben manages with the support of his two brothers Sam (13) and Jack (15), and a close circle of friends who have also adjusted to help monitor his condition.

Ben gets on well at school and he still has the same circle of friends he had since he was in year one. They just wait for him if he has to check his blood sugar levels and their parents are also keen to understand about what’s involved so he can go and play and have sleepovers.

Currently, 29,000 children in the UK live with type 1 diabetes. A child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of five faces up to 19,000 injections and 50,000 finger prick blood tests by the time they are 18. The condition is not linked to lifestyle factors.

Having type 1 diabetes is an adjustment for the whole family and as for millions of other parents, having a cure would just be fantastic.

Ruth Elliot is taking on her challenges for JDRF, which funds research into type 1 diabetes. To sponsor her, visit Ruth's JustGiving page