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Shared experience

“I have always enjoyed giving back”

Jonty Brown was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 12 years old. He’s spoken to us about his love for running and how JDRF inspires him to take on new challenges.
Content last reviewed and updated: 10.11.2023

Jonty Brown, who lives with type 1 diabetes standing in a sports stadium

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 12. I struggled with it through my teen years, trying to balance life and school while not making my diabetes ‘a thing’. I tried to understand it as much as I could, without it taking over my life.

I had an incredible team at Harrogate hospital who helped me with everything from my needle phobia to moving into adult life. They also helped me plan and organise all things diabetes when I lived in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the years of travel in between. I feel very lucky to have had such a supportive team and family, which has meant diabetes has never stopped me chasing any dream.

Finding a balance with type 1 tech

One of the most challenging things about having type 1 is striking a balance. I still struggle today with giving myself time to manage situations (lows and highs) and I am very blasé about it all. Sometimes I feel that I should be more balanced and give more time to my diabetes.

I am currently on the Medtronic 780G and Guardian 4 Sensor. Since using the sensor my glucose levels have improved dramatically. There’s still some fine tuning to do, but that’s not the technology’s fault. Again, its balance. I need to remember to give insulin pre-meals and spend some time fine-tuning my running with type 1.

Looking to the future

I get a lot of messages from people introducing themselves and telling me that they or their child/friend/family member has been recently diagnosed with diabetes. Knowing that research is being continuously worked on to help people with type 1 and to prevent others from getting type 1 excites and inspires me every day.

What I want for everyone with type 1 is to be able to eat whatever we like for dinner, without even thinking about it. I want to go for a run and really feel the benefits from sports gels or food at aid stations. I don’t want the constant worry and anxiety of what my levels are doing. I don’t want my levels to affect my day-to-day life.

If we keep raising as much money for JDRF as possible, to help fund the research, I hope that in my lifetime I can see find a cure. Wow, that would be special.

Running for World Diabetes Day

I am so grateful for everything JDRF does, it’s so inspiring and mind-blowing the work that is being put in, to try eradicate diabetes for good! Without it we wouldn’t have the constant developments we are so lucky to have.

I have always enjoyed giving back, and JDRF has helped me by supporting my crazy challenges since I started running in lockdown. I was the first type 1 diabetic to run across the UK and then run 100km on World Diabetes Day two years ago.

For World Diabetes Day this year, to celebrate 102 years since insulin was discovered and 21 years since I was diagnosed with diabetes, I will be running 21 laps of Victoria Park, which is 102km.

So if you’re around on Sunday 12 November, come to The Peoples Park Tavern in Victoria Park at 11am, where there will be a base/aid station/bag drop so you can join in for a lap/multiple laps or come along to cheer and say hello!

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