We are totally blessed to have two fantastic ambassadors to our cause for the HBF Run for a Reason on 27 May.
Verity Charles is one of netball’s most dynamic midcourters. She is the vice captain of West Coast Fever, with 66 games at the elite level to her name.
Verity was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 17 years old.
“It was a total shock, because none of my family have diabetes, and in fact I didn’t know anyone with diabetes. My first two questions to the doctor were about whether I could still play netball, and whether I could still eat chocolate”, Verity recalls.
She tests her blood glucose several times per day, including before and after every game, and administers insulin by injection. Despite having to be so much more careful with her food intake and blood glucose levels than most people, she has not let her condition get in the way of achieving her dream of becoming a professional netballer.
Being an elite sportsperson with diabetes means that Verity needs to be a bit more careful with her diet, and keep firm control of her blood glucose levels in training and especially just before a game. She doesn’t use an insulin pump because she can’t wear one on court, but her teammates have all been taught how they can help Verity if she has a “hypo” (hypoglycaemia) on the court.
“I also need to be a lot more careful about dehydration, and I’ve noticed that things like simple infections seem to affect me more than most people. There’s a lot more to having diabetes than just eating a few jellybeans here and there!” Verity laughed.
“I decided to become an ambassador for Diabetes WA because I want to give a bit back. I would love to inspire even one young girl with diabetes who wants to be an athlete, or help one mother whose child had been diagnosed.”
Kaarin was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 12 years ago.
“While a part of me was relieved to finally have an answer as to why I’d been feeling so terrible for so long, mostly I was utterly terrified. Terrified of what it meant for my life, my health and the future,” Kaarin said.
So she started gathering information from as many health professionals as available. As she learned more about diabetes, Kaarin decided that she was going to control her condition, not let it control her. She is now an active member of the Perth Running Club.
“I’ve always been pretty active since my diagnosis, but learning to run was a game changer for me. It gave me an even greater respect for my condition and taught me more about the right fuels and management for high activity. Running my first half marathon two years ago, (even though I came third last!) was the biggest victory for me in proving to myself that despite my diabetes, I really can do anything.
“I’m running in the HBF Run for a Reason for Diabetes WA to raise awareness and money for research to find a cure not just for myself, but for my sister, my friends, my friends’ kids and for all of us out there with diabetes.”
If you are participating in the HBF Run for a Reason, you can help Diabetes WA to continue helping Western Australians with diabetes by becoming a fundraiser.