Gosport father and daughter duo take on 65-mile challenge for QA Hospital after girl's diabetes diagnosis

A FATHER daughter duo are hoping to raise as much money as possible for a children’s ward at Queen Alexandra Hospital and boost awareness of type 1 diabetes, with an impressive 65-mile challenge.

Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 4:45 pm

Determined Matthew and Annabelle Elliott, from Gosport, gave themselves three months to walk or run a total of 65 miles as part of their charity effort, following the six-month anniversary of Annabelle’s diabetes diagnosis.

All cash donated will go towards the Portsmouth Hospitals Charity bubbles fund, which is used by the paediatric department at QA.

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Matthew and Annabelle Elliott from Gosport who are walking 65 miles in aid of the Portsmouth Hospitals Charity and for diabetes awareness

Annabelle, 11, said: ‘The reason I am fundraising is to raise money for all the people who have helped me since being diagnosed and to raise awareness about type 1 diabetes in young children because not many people know about it and I wish I did.’

Her diagnosis came as a shock to the family, who noticed Annabelle’s symptoms – including looking thinner than usual, drinking more and stomach pains – during a family holiday in Scotland last summer.

They travelled home and went to the children’s emergency department where blood and urine tests showed Annabelle had type 1 diabetes.

Dad Matthew said: ‘All the nurses, doctors and staff we met during these manic few hours were so amazing and kind and helped us get our heads around this news.

Matthew and Annabelle Elliott from Gosport with their family

‘On the morning of Annabelle’s 11th birthday, I was allowed to bring in some presents and balloons to cheer her up and the staff surprised us both by giving Annabelle some presents too which meant so much to us both.

‘When we saw the diabetic specialist team that morning Annabelle was already testing her own bloods when needed as well as injecting her insulin before every meal and before bedtime.

‘They were so happy that they let us leave that lunchtime which meant that Annabelle could enjoy some of her birthday at home.

‘I will never be able to thank enough all the members of staff that we met in those hectic few days, they diagnosed what was up with our daughter and helped us start our new journey. Their compassion, excellence and dedication were just mind boggling. Thank you all so much.’

The pair decided to take on the fundraising challenge after Annabelle was ‘starting to struggle mentally’ with the impact of diabetes and started on February 28. They have until May 28 to complete the challenge.

To choose the distance of 65 miles they worked out what each letter of the alphabet was as a number, then added all the numbers for ‘diabetes.’

With type 1 diabetes your body attacks the cells in your pancreas, which means it cannot make any insulin. It is not yet known what the cause is.

However, with type 2 your body is unable to make enough insulin or the insulin you do make doesn’t work properly, and is often linked to weight or a family history of diabetes.

To donate to Annabelle’s cause visit justgiving.com/fundraising/matthew-elliott-diabeties65.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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