Lancashire woman Ramona Mulligan will take part in her fifth Great Manchester Run this Sunday in memory of a young dad who lost his life due to undiagnosed diabetes. AASMA DAY finds out more.
When someone dies suddenly at a young age, it is a difficult enough time for family and friends without the added turmoil of not knowing why the death occurred.
Graham Rowe suddenly lost his life at the age of 36 and it was later discovered he had died as a result of complications from undiagnosed diabetes.
Ramona Mulligan, 48, of Clayton-le-Woods, near Chorley, will be taking part in her fifth Great Manchester Run later this month and will be running it in memory of Graham.
Together with Graham’s daughter Stacey Rowe, Ramona is keen to raise awareness of Graham’s story and of the symptoms of diabetes both Type 1 and Type 2 in the hope of preventing other families losing relatives to undiagnosed diabetes.
Stacey, 27, from Westhoughton says: “I was only 12 when my dad passed away and it was a scary time because nobody knew why it had happened.
“It was only later that we discovered he had undiagnosed diabetes.
“If he had recognised the symptoms then maybe he could have been diagnosed in time.
“I hope by sharing his story we can raise awareness of what to look out for so that other people do not have to suffer our loss.”
Graham’s complications were a result of diabetic ketoacidosis, a build-up of acid in the body which is caused by a lack of insulin resulting in consistently high levels of blood glucose.
Although diabetic keto-acidosis is most common in people with Type 1 diabetes, anyone who depends on insulin could develop diabetic ketoacidosis.
It often occurs at diagnosis as people who do not realise they have Type 1 diabetes do not get diagnosed until they are very unwell.
Diabetes symptoms include, tiredness, weight loss, increased thirst and frequently needing the toilet.
Stacey, a mum-of-one to eight-month-old Poppy, says: “It would give me great satisfaction to know that if my dad’s story saved even just one life then I would feel that his death was not in vain and his remembrance will live forever saving others.”
Stephen Ryan, head of the north at Diabetes UK says: “It can be difficult to spot the symptoms of diabetes.
“For people with Type 1 they can develop quite quickly, but for people with Type 2 diabetes they can often go undetected for up to 10 years.
“It’s important to recognise what the symptoms are so that people are able to get treatment early.”
Diabetes charity champion Ramona, who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2009 at the age of 41, found out about Graham’s story after meeting Stacey’s mum Sandra and sharing her own experiences with diabetes.
Ramona, a recruitment consultant for Adecco ,says: “It is a story I carry close to my heart, so I am dedicating my run to honour Graham’s memory and to help save lives.
“Graham didn’t know he had diabetes before he died. He hadn’t been diagnosed. He was young and physically fit and he was a lover of life.
“I’m running the Great Manchester Run to raise awareness of diabetes and the importance of recognising the symptoms in the hope that people living with the condition will be diagnosed and can go on to live long and healthy lives.”
The run on May 22 will see dozens of Team Diabetes UK runners take to the streets to run the 10k course.
The course starts and finishes in the city centre and passes Old Trafford, the Imperial War Museum North and the Coronation Street set. More than 40,000 people take part every year.
Stephen Ryan adds: “The Great Manchester Run is one of Europe’s leading 10ks whether you are an elite runner or a 10k novice.
“We’re really grateful to Ramona for joining Team Diabetes UK to help raise vital funds to help people living with diabetes.
“Every penny raised will help us to support the millions of people living with diabetes in the UK so please give generously to back Ramona and support her amazing effort.”
• To find out more information about diabetes and diabetes symptoms visit: www.diabetes.org.uk
• To sponsor Ramona visit https://www.justgiving.com/Ramona-Mulligan7