Wales squad send good luck message to marathon fundraiser

The Wales football team are backing Paul Coker in his bid to run 40 half marathons for Diabetes UK Cymru to commemorate his fortieth year living with Type 1 diabetes.


The team, who are currently in the Euro 2016 tournament in France, sent the 44 year old father of two from Ferndale a good luck message, signed by the team. This support will boost Paul in his next challenge at the Swansea Half Marathon on Sunday 26 June, which will be his thirteenth half marathon so far.


Paul decided to challenge himself to support Diabetes UK Cymru in their work to raise awareness of the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes. Paul’s fundraising will directly support the charity’s work with a Cardiff family who tragically lost their 13 year old son, Peter Baldwin, last year as a result of undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes. Peter was a football fan and attended Whitchurch High School, where Wales player Gareth Bale was a former pupil.


Paul was himself seriously ill when he was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of five and was touched by the Baldwin family’s story. He aims to work with the family and Diabetes UK Cymru to raise awareness of the condition and its symptoms, which include urinating more often, excessive thirst, excessive tiredness and weight loss.


The charity will also be working to encourage healthcare professionals to make sure they are testing people immediately for Type 1 diabetes if they show any symptoms or have any unexplained illness.


Paul said: “I am really touched by the message from the Wales team, it is incredible to have their backing and has given me the extra boost I need to keep going and complete the challenge.


“Ever since I spoke to Peter’s parents I’ve wanted to contribute something to their amazing work to raise awareness of the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes. When I first developed Type 1 diabetes it went undiagnosed, I ended up in a coma and it was touch and go whether I would survive but luckily I did. My family could so easily have lost me, just like Peter’s family have 40 years later.


He added: “I hope that the money I am going to raise in this challenge will help raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes and help prevent this awful tragedy happening to another family.”


Paul aims to raise over £5000 for the charity with the backing of his wife Denise and daughters Kyla and Cerys. His story has already attracted support from across the globe, with runners from America and Australia joining in his challenge.


Diabetes UK Cymru’s Director Dai Williams said: “Getting this message from the Wales team is incredible. It is made extra special because Peter would have been really pleased as he was a big football fan.


“The money that Paul raises will help us to increase awareness of Type 1 diabetes in children, young people and adults. We really hope that we see a change in people’s understanding of this condition and do our best to stop this ever happening to another family in Wales.”


To follow Paul’s challenge you can visit his website www.1bloodydrop.com or to donate visitwww.justgiving.com/1bloodydrop


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Team @ AberdareOnline

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