Tasmanian-based Daniel was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in 1995 at the age of 6. Now in his early 30s, he has been living with T1D for almost three decades. A long time One Walk Step Challenge supporter, we caught up with Daniel to learn about the adventures Walk has taken him on, why he’s passionate about T1D research and his advice for anyone thinking about getting involved this year!
Tell us about your journey with type 1 diabetes?
Being diagnosed when I was 6, T1D has been part of my life for a long time now. Over this time, research and technology have come a long way and how I am able to manage it now looks a lot different to what it once did, which I’m really grateful for.
Since my teenage years, I’ve been involved in all sorts of things with the T1D community. With JDRF, I have been a Peer Support mentor, have supported JDRF’s advocacy program for several years and started participating in One Walk in 2011.
T1D brings with it lots of difficulties, like 24/7 management, hypos at inconvenient times and other health complications, but it also brings lots of positives – like meeting great people and being part of a fantastic and passionate community. That’s something I feel like everyone who takes part benefits from, and it’s something I especially love about Walk – the amazing community spirit while raising funds for T1D research!
Tell us about your involvement with One Walk over the years?
This is my 11th Walk, and my first was all the way back in 2011. I first got involved because I wanted to see how much money I could raise by setting myself the challenge to walk from Devonport, where I lived, to Burnie, where my parents live. That’s a 42km walk and I raised $750 – way more than I thought I would!
From that year on, I’ve been even more creative with setting my own Walk goals. I have walked (in parts) the entirety of the Northern Tasmania coastline, and I’ve headed south along the Penguin-Cradle trail and parts of the Tasmanian trail.
In other years, I’ve climbed mountains here in Tassie, and last year I ran 100km over the month of October – a huge accomplishment for me.
I've been very lucky to have amazing friends and family who have continued to support my efforts with donations, fundraising products, keeping me company on walks, and most importantly, enthusiasm when things are tough.
In total, I have walked over 500kms, climbed 12 mountains, run 108km, and raised over $40,000 for T1D research – and I can’t wait to see what this year’s Walk will add to that!
How important is it for you to support JDRF’s campaigns that fund the next generation of T1D breakthroughs?
It’s incredibly important to me. JDRF are the world’s biggest non-Government funder of T1D research that isn’t only aimed at curing T1D, but also improving lives along the way – and supporting that is something I’m passionate about.
I think we all understand just how difficult living with T1D is, and a really positive aspect of Walk is that as a community, we can come together to raise money that goes towards making our lives so much easier.
My favourite part of Walk each year is seeing just how many people are willing to get involved because they can see the difference their contribution can make.
You never really know when the next big breakthrough (or, fingers crossed, a cure) will be - but I know for sure it's a lot closer than it would be if this T1D community didn't get up each year and get involved in the One Walk Step Challenge.
What would you say to someone who is considering signing up or fundraising for One Walk?
To absolutely get involved and give it a go! It's wonderful opportunity to set yourself a challenge that you might not otherwise have done, and in the process raise awareness amongst your own family, friends, and community groups about life with T1D.
No matter your fundraising target, it’s an opportunity to get involved with the wonderful T1D community and show those close to you the impact of T1D. You can use it to set goals from a fitness perspective it, and it’s added motivation to get outside and into the fresh air.
You can achieve your Walk goal in whatever way works with your lifestyle, and even use it as an excuse to see more of the beautiful scenery Australia (especially Tassie) has to offer!
Work and life can be overwhelming, and I’m sure we all feel there’s never enough hours in the day, but if you have a great cause like raising funds for T1D research, that can be the perfect motivation to help get moving.
You never know – your contribution could be the one that gets that last bit of funding needed to make possible the life-changing breakthroughs so many of us are walking for.