Southbourne man with diabetes in awareness-raising
wheelchair ride from Hengistbury to Sandbanks
Southbourne man Lee Nevitt, 35, who has Type 1 diabetes and nerve damage complications, has challenged himself to ride 20km from Hengistbury Head to Sandbanks in his wheelchair on Saturday 19 June to raise awareness of diabetes and help kick start a desperately-needed local support group for others with the condition.
Lee was diagnosed with a rare form of Type 1 diabetes in May 2007 that developed over a period of four years. Lee resisted going to the doctors during this time out of embarrassment and a denial to accept he was unwell.
Type 1 diabetes is a life-long autoimmune condition which is treated with daily insulin injections, diet and physical activity. Unlike Type 2 diabetes, it is not linked to an unhealthy lifestyle or obesity. As a result of his diabetes being left undiagnosed for so long, Lee developed severe neuropathy – a painful complication of diabetes that affects the nerves and prevents Lee from walking long distances.
Since being diagnosed Lee has been unable to work and his life has changed completely. He has, however, fought to remain positive and now works proactively alongside Diabetes UK in raising awareness of diabetes.
Lee’s ride coincides with Diabetes UK’s Diabetes Week (13 to 19 June 2010) and he hopes to raise £1,000 for the charity as well as raise awareness of diabetes and its complications.
“I’m hoping the event will attract a lot of support; I’ve written to all of the local schools asking them to get involved and I’m also holding a coffee morning to discuss how we can start up a support group for others living with the condition in the area,” said Lee.
“I have called my Diabetes Challenge ‘Don’t suffer in silence’ as I want to highlight the complications of diabetes which are often not obvious for people to see, but they are a reality and people need to be more aware of them.
“I gave the Challenge this name as I want to say to young people who live with diabetes not to hide away but talk about their condition. I want them to know that there are other people like them, people they can talk to and share experiences with.
“My overall message to young people who think they may be ill is ‘Don’t be embarrassed, go to the doctor.’ It is so much better to be checked out than leave it to get worse,” said Lee.
“My long term goal is to create and maintain a Diabetes UK Support group for people with diabetes in the Bournemouth area so they can come together and support one another”, he said.
Zoë Steer, of Diabetes UK in the South West said, “We are so grateful to Lee for all his hard word and support for Diabetes UK. He is an inspiration to others who live with diabetes. We hope the local people will join together with Lee and support him with his challenge to raise vital funds for Diabetes UK.
“Diabetes Challenge is a cutting edge website that brings Diabetes UK supporters together in a new way. It allows groups of people to take on new and exciting challenges, and to track each other’s progress using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Challenge yourself or someone you know at www.diabeteschallenge.org.uk ”
Sponsor Lee at www.diabeteschallenge.org.uk/challenge/leenevitt-dontsufferinsilence