Opting for an alternative mode of journeying to and from work, availing of his running shoes as opposed to his car seat during the month of July, Rosemount native, Kevin O’Connell completed his desired feat and in the process raised much needed funds (€3,150 ) for Diabetes Ireland.
Kevin, who has Type 1 Diabetes, ran in excess of 200km during the month while also working 12 hour shifts each day, managing his blood glucose levels and his insulin needs accordingly.
Those with diabetes are classed as a high-risk group for COVID-19 and account for approximately six percent of all diagnosed cases of the disease and bearing such statistics in mind, Kevin decided to avoid transport to undertake this challenge.
“With the current easing of restrictions and workplaces opening again, there is an uneasiness felt by a lot of people about using public transport and having to make decisions on alternative transport options so I decided to take on this challenge to show that running to and from work is an alternative option” Kevin commented.
Diagnosed on 14 November 2005, the most important date in the diabetes community as it coincides with the birthday of Frederick Banting who discovered insulin which gives life to millions of people with diabetes worldwide, Kevin used the latest technology, the Freestyle Libre, to monitor his diabetes each day.
“Many things can affect my blood glucose levels. People generally know that diet and exercise can do so, but other things such stress, tiredness, mental fatigue can also affect my glucose levels at any time, even when you are sleeping, so you need to be aware of your levels and be ready to take action and react accordingly. Through this challenge, I hope to inspire people with diabetes and everyone else to maybe avoid taking transport and walk, run and cycle to work,” Kevin added.
Prior to embracing the fundraising challenge Kevin spoke of the challenge being diagnosed with diabetes as a secondary school student presented.
“Before developing diabetes, I had no clue what the illness was and what is done daily. I was diagnosed on the 14th November 2005, which is World Diabetes Day, so it’s the date I will never forget. I was exactly two weeks off my birthday, turning 14 years old on November 28. It was the toughest time possible as I was in second year of secondary school, and fitting in, making friends was priority back then. I didn’t want to be different from anyone else. How times have changed.
“After a week in Mullingar General Hospital learning the ropes for my new way to adapt to my new lifestyle, I was back to school with this long-term illness that I did not know all the questions to when asked my friends, and teachers. My maths teacher, Mr Des Dolan well known on the playing field for Westmeath Gaelic football decided to give me his Westmeath championship jersey which he played Kildare in previous Leinster Championship in 2005. It was the nicest thing anyone had done for me especially at that time period and really lifted my spirits,” Kevin noted.
Kevin is an employee of West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. in Damastown, Dublin. West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. is a global leader in innovative solutions for injectable drug administration and plays an important role in finding solutions and delivering value for our global healthcare system. The site in Dublin supplies high-quality molding and assembly solutions for the production of medical devices such as auto injectors and continuous glucose monitoring systems for the diabetes market.
Nurturing a culture of philanthropy and community involvement is one of the defining characteristics of Kevin’s employers. West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. and its employees endeavour to build upon our culture of giving back by demonstrating a commitment to the communities in which we live and work through financial support and volunteerism.
“The Dublin site is extremely proud of our own history of giving back to the local community and we are delighted to be able to support Kevin as he strives to raise much needed funds for Diabetes Ireland” Tom Clarke, Site Director, West Dublin, commented.
“We were delighted that Kevin completed this challenge for us. In terms of his diabetes management, the daily run to and from work presented extra challenges in terms of his diabetes management and to give due credit, Kevin adjusted accordingly,” Diabetes Ireland CEO Kieran O’Leary, emphasised.