Aiming to shatter diabetes myths

A Leeds barrister Catherine Souter is taking part in the Great North Run to raise funds for Diabetes Research UK
A Leeds barrister Catherine Souter is taking part in the Great North Run to raise funds for Diabetes Research UK
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Being diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 12 has never stopped Catherine Souter achieving her goals. Now she want to give something back. Catherine Scott reports.

A Leeds barrister who has Type 1 diabetes is trying to raise awareness of the condition by taking part in the Great North Run to raise funds for Diabetes UK.

Catherine Souter, 34, specialises in personal injury and employment law at Park Lane Plowden Chambers, based in Leeds and Newcastle. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1992.

No one knows what causes the condition but it is not to do with being unhealthy or overweight. It isn’t currently preventable and there is no known cure.

Catherine, who lives in Roundhay, Leeds, is supporting Diabetes UK because she thinks the work they do to raise awareness of the disease and the research they do to one day, hopefully, find a cure is really important.

Catherine was 12 when she found out she had diabetes.

“It was not in our family so it was a real shock. I was really poorly – I lost lots of weight, was tired, really thirsty and was going to the toilet a lot – all tell tale signs,” she recalls.

“I was a gymnast in the national squad at the time, so losing weight was something I wasn’t really that aware of. I thought it was just because I was training so hard. When I eventually went to the GP, the diagnosis was immediate and I was admitted to hospital for two weeks.”

Catherine is still an active gym-goer and recently ran the Manchester 10k and completed the Swim 22 challenge for Diabetes UK, swimming the equivalent of the English Channel in two months. She will also be running the Great Yorkshire Run in September, again, for Diabetes UK.

She finds it hard that many people wrongly see diabetes as a “fault” illness and confuse Type 1 with Type 2.

“Type 2 diabetes is largely linked to being overweight whereas that has nothing to do with Type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by increasing activity and improving diet. There’s no one out there better than Diabetes UK to help raise awareness of these two illnesses whilst actively researching a cure. And hopefully, by completing the Great North Run, I can shatter some of these myths which surround Type 1 diabetes whilst raising money at the same time.”

Catherine is originally from Newcastle so is looking forward to running in her home city.

“I watched my Mum and Dad do the Great North Run when I was a child. I remember watching my dad shortly after I was diagnosed and thinking, ‘I will do that one day’.

“He raised £20k for children’s diabetes charities and hospital wards shortly after I was diagnosed so I’m taking over his fund-raising mantle. Then my husband ran for Diabetes UK last year, so I thought this year it was probably my turn. My sister-in-law is also running as are a number of my friends, so it should be good fun.”

Diabetes UK Northern and Yorkshire Fundraising Manager, Katie Hall, said: “Each year, 24,000 people with diabetes in England and Wales die before their time, yet their deaths are not inevitable.”

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