By Matthew Regan
We are stand up paddleboarding the entire length of the Grand Western Canal in Mid-Devon or as far as our aged bodies and the light allow us! A small team, Simeon and Matthew Paskell, Adam Fisher, Kristin Hayday O’Connor, Jessie Jephcott and myself, are doing this challenge, hopefully not sinking on Saturday, 11th November 2023.
We are doing this to raise money and awareness for two causes very close to our hearts. The first is Snack Pack, a small local diabetes charity. Sim’s five-year-old daughter, Ada, was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. This life-changing diagnosis has been a huge challenge for Ada, her parents and her family to adapt to, as it is for all individuals and families affected by diabetes.
Such is the nature of type 1 diabetes – an autoimmune disease (more detail on this here: www.nhs.uk/conditions/type-1-diabetes/) – it really can strike anyone at any time, so awareness of symptoms is vital. Due to the good luck of a friend suggesting that the symptoms sounded like diabetes, Sim and Alex managed to get Ada diagnosed before she went into what is known as Diabetic Ketoacidosis, which can be life-threatening.
The other is raising money for Thorverton Church of England Primary School, our local school, which Ada and my little boy Lochann attend. Like most small UK village schools, Thorverton struggles with limited resources, provisions and budget and relies on the hard work of the PTFA and the generosity of the local and wider community to help the fantastic teachers and staff provide the best education for the local community’s children.
The support Thorverton Primary School gave Ada, Sim and Alex has been astonishing. Staff across the school have had to be trained to support Ada’s diabetes (i.e. how to recognise symptoms, deliver insulin jabs, etc.), and all involved have done so with a huge degree of enthusiasm and genuine care. We really could not be happier with the support they have provided.
We and the cause would much appreciate donations, and all monies raised will be split evenly between the two causes.
Wish us luck; hopefully, we won’t sink and will make it light, weather and bodies dependent!
Below are all the links to the just-giving site, the charity, school and canal.