JDRF, the type 1 diabetes charityStoriesMake a Splash! – your stories

Make a Splash! – your stories

The JDRF Make a Splash sponsored swim event has been an example of the fantastic commitment of JDRF supporters and the generosity of all with a connection to type 1 diabetes.

The swim is a unique challenge with options for all ages and abilities and is ideal for both adults and families.

There are four different distances participants can attempt over the 12 weeks, from a mile long swim to the distance of the English Channel.

There have been many inspiring stories from a challenge that has seen people of all ages make a splash for type 1 diabetes research and raise funds to support JDRF and type 1 diabetes research.

Just some of these are shared below.

Alec - I am swimming to help people like my sister!

Blog_ Alec and Hanna sponsored swim
My name is Alec. I am 11 years old and I am swimming 21 miles in 12 weeks to help find a cure for type 1 diabetes to help people like my sister, Hanna.

I am swimming 21 miles as part of the JDRF Make a Splash challenge. This is the distance of the English Channel between England and France and will be 1352 lengths of a 25 metre swimming pool.

So far I have swum 527 lengths, with 825 still to go! That translates to 8.23 miles done and 12.89 to go.

Hanna was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of three, on 13 May 2013. I will never forget that Monday afternoon when my Mum took me out of school choir and said she will have to go to the hospital with Hanna. I was looked after by our neighbour before my Dad got back from work.

I didn’t know anything about type 1 diabetes, but quickly our lives changed forever. I visited Hanna in the hospital every day for three days and I witnessed her crying for every injection given. Hanna got an insulin pump after nine months of diagnosis which brought our lives closer to normal again.

Blog_ Alec and Hanna 2 sponsored swim

Hanna has done over 15,000 finger pricks to test her blood glucose levels and thousands of insulin injections.  I see her being hypo and hyper, and carbohydrate counting every meal and snack she has. No day is the same and nor are her blood glucose levels. I wish Hanna could grab random food and just eat or run herself out of breath not worrying if she is going to be hypo or hyper.

We need a cure for type 1 diabetes and we need it now. I’m glad to be involved in the Sponsored Swim and to be raising funds to support research.

Lizzie - I love swimming and go three times a week. I know it is good for me to keep healthy.

Lizzie Elliott

I would love for JDRF to find a cure, so that I wouldn’t have to keep testing myself and having cannula changes. I also want to do this to stop other people from getting type 1 diabetes.

I hope the money I raise will help this happen.

Read more of Lizzie’s story.

Joe - I have just completed the 21 mile channel challenge to raise funds and help JDRF find a cure for type 1 diabetes!

Blog_ Joe sponsored swim
My name is Joe Sutherland and I am nine years old. My mum showed me the challenge on Facebook after my friend Madison’s mum shared it. I decided to go for it because I love swimming and it was something I could do to help someone I know. I go swimming four times a week anyway but I also did some extra swimming to challenge myself. I was still surprised I managed to do it in just 21 days though. I swam 1352 lengths in total!

Madison is 15 – the same age as my sister- and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just before she was five. I’ve always known she had type 1 diabetes and I know that she has to test her blood and have injections to look after herself. She doesn’t let it hold her back though and she’s a fantastic skater. She’s just won a trophy for skating this week.

Madison’s Mum and Dad have been friends with my parents for years and I’d love to help her with the money I’ve raised. So far my total is over £1300. I’ve been totally amazed by this and everyone has been really generous. I hope this helps finds a cure and helps other kids like Madison too.

Karen - As well as raising funds and awareness for JDRF I am hoping that I will get much fitter and improve my insulin sensitivity.

For my first swim I had my younger son swimming with me and both lapping me (he swam 80 lengths while I did my 50 lengths) and encouraging me to swim freestyle.

He’s not coming with me again!

Karen Addington

Read more from JDRF’s UK Chief Executive, Karen

Lexi - I am swimming 2.1 miles in the hope to find that cure!

Sponsored swim - Lexi

My name is Lexi. I am 10 years old and on the 23rd of December 2016 I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

It was a big shock to me and my family as we didn’t know anything about type 1 diabetes.

Thankfully, I managed to have a lovely Christmas at home with all my family and I am now getting to grips with living with the condition.

I love swimming and go every weekend with my sisters. I saw the sponsored swim on the JDRF website and thought it’d be a great challenge to see how well I could do since being diagnosed.

I’ve learnt that everyday is a challenge for so many of us special people living with type 1, so I’m hoping to raise over £1,000 and I really hope this makes a difference in finding that magical cure for us.


My name is Neve. I’m nine years old and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in November 2015.

I am swimming 2.1 miles for the JDRF challenge.  I love swimming and sports and I want to help JDRF find a cure! I have raised £205 so far.

Living with type 1 diabetes is ok – sometimes it can be difficult, but I have also made some nice friends with the condition and I am going to a T1D camp in the summer too!

I finished my swimming challenge yesterday! I had three failed cannulas so my blood glucose levels were high. But the swimming helped and I was nearly hypo when I came out.

I’ve enjoyed the challenge and will do more fundraising to help JDRF find a cure.