Millie was just six in 2011, when we took a family holiday. She started waking me up every half-an-hour for a drink, and when we ran out of milk, I called Millie’s Grandma – a nurse – to ask what might be going on. Her Grandma actually suggested that it might be diabetes so we raced back to Sydney to our GP who tested Millie’s blood glucose levels (BGLs) with a fingerprick. It was 33, confirming her diagnosis immediately.
It was a bit of a shock, as we had no family history of type 1 diabetes at all. I feel like she lost a bit of her innocence that day.
We’re managing ok now. We’ve lost a few BGL test kits and had issues with insulin pumps, but we’ve soldiered through. I can tell when Millie’s BGLs are high as she gets very chatty and talks quite fast and the lows are evident as she becomes tired and lethargic.
Now that Millie is in high school, she has been taking a lot more responsibility for diabetes management, and the staff do not have to remind her as often. Millie will do whatever activity she is asked at school and doesn’t let the diabetes stop her. She’s even won a sporting award.
At 13 now, Millie is a tough cookie and has a big heart. She is a huge animal lover and we think she is destined to open an animal shelter or be a veterinarian. She wants to go to the dog pound every weekend to look at the dogs. If we had room for a dog our house would probably be full of them.
I decided to start running, for health reasons, when Millie was diagnosed. I started with a few shorter runs and half-marathons, eventually graduating to marathons in 2014. Once I’d conquered marathons, I was looking for ‘the next big thing’. I googled Australia’s hardest/biggest race and up came the Big Red Run. I thought it was a great coincidence that it raised money for type 1 diabetes but at first I wasn’t confident that I could do it.
I did a 50km ultra-marathon and thought, “no one is ever ready to run 250km through the desert”. Then I bit the bullet!
I spoke to Millie before signing up, and she was immediately on board to support me, as was her big brother Max who volunteered to be my social media manager.
The build up to the race is a crazy roller coaster, with emotional highs and lows but I’m determined to finish even if I have to crawl across the line. I began training in August 2017, and am now training seven days a week.
I’ve decided my point of difference will be my ‘fro. I’m fairly sure that I’ll be the only competitor running through the sand dunes with my own natural shade.
Millie and her brothers are very excited and will be following along online from home.
Darron is on a mission to raise $10,000 for type 1 diabetes research. You can ‘follow the fro’ and donate to Darron via his Big Red Run fundraising page. He also has a dedicated website and blog called RunFroRun. You can join the Big Red Run too, for the adventure of a lifetime, at their website.