University of Lincoln student Shaina Scotcher, 20, is skydiving this year to raise money for the charity Diabetes UK.After discovering she had Type 1 diabetes during her first year at university, Shaina had to make a number of life changes, most notably having to inject insulin daily and having to check her blood sugar levels before every meal.
“When I got diagnosed I cried. I didn’t know anyone my age with it and rang my Dad straight away, as he suffers with diabetes also. He gave me advice on how to handle the condition and told me to check out Diabetes UK.”
Shaina continued: “He reassured me that my life wouldn’t change dramatically. I had a day of crying but then I got on with it. It very quickly became part of my routine. Then, I thought, “I don’t need sugar – I’m sweet enough as it is!” She laughed.
The Media Production third year student had to make simple changes people wouldn’t normally think about, such as sugar in her tea and opting for sugar-free drinks on nights out.
Shaina said: “It upsets me that I have to pay more sometimes for the sugar-free options and people don’t always believe it’s an actual requirement to my diet.
“People don’t really know the risks and dangers of diabetes and get confused between Type 1 and Type 2 and think it’s more of a dietary requirement rather than an illness.”
In regards to her choice of charity for her fundraising, Shaina said: “I decided to raise money for this charity as it’s so nice to go on their website and to see the research and articles they’re making. By raising the money for the skydive, it will be great to go back in a few months and look on the site to see what my money is going towards.”
Shaina’s aim is to raise awareness for diabetes in other ways and for people realise the differences in diabetes. She said: “People don’t understand and just think “you’ll die if you have too much sugar” which really isn’t the case, unless in extreme situations.”
She continued: “You don’t necessarily have to be overweight to have diabetes and it annoys me when people make jokes about diabetes, when they wouldn’t necessarily make jokes about cancer and other illnesses.
There are two forms of the illness – Type 1 and Type 2. The former variant effects around 10% of adults with diabetes, after the insulin-producing cells in the body have been destroyed and the body is unable to produce any insulin.
The latter type is far more common and occurs when In Type 2 diabetes there is not enough insulin in the body, causing glucose to build up in the blood.
England’s leading diabetes charity, Diabetes UK, exists to provide support to sufferers, be it in the form of offering care and support for those with the illness, or by funding diabetes research in the country.
Additionally, the organisation works with health care professionals to improve diabetes services and standards of care, as well as campaigning for diabetes sufferers to get the best treatment possible.
In regards to the skydive, Shaina will have support from a key family member. “I was going to do it on my own, but my sister will also be doing the dive – it will be nice to have someone joining me. She’s been so supportive and helpful since my diagnosis,” Shaina said.
For further information on Shaina’s skydive in June or to donate, visit http://www.justgiving.com/ScotcherSkydiveTweet