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Turning your diagnosis into a chance to improve your life

People with type 2 diabetes shouldn’t look at the condition as an impossible challenge, but as a second chance to have a healthier and happier life, says Ramona Mulligan.

Ramona, of Clayton-le-Woods, Chorley was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2009. She was 41 at the time, and weighed 17.5 stone.

“It just shook me up,” she says. “I had lost one of my best friends to diabetes, and nearly lost my Mother to diabetic coma, a few months earlier. I had moved to the UK from California to marry the man of my dreams, and had a wonderful and happy life, which I didn’t want to lose. And so I knew I needed to turn my health around.”

Taking action

RamonaRamona before weight loss

“I immediately changed my eating habits by reducing portion sizes, cutting out cakes and biscuits, and gave up alcohol. I also became more active. I joined Activity for Life – a 12-week initiative supported by the NHS, enabling people to take on a Nurse-led personalised exercise programme and offers reduced membership fees if you keep going. I joined the gym and also enjoy daily walks with my husband, Kirk and our dog Alfie. In 2012, inspired by the Olympic games and a meeting with four-time Olympic medallist, Lord Sebastian Coe, I began running.”

Every Saturday, Ramona runs five kilometres, as part of the national park run scheme, which organises weekly runs in parkland surroundings around the world. She also joined a local running club, and runs for the charity Diabetes UK.

Ramona has ran over 100 5k to 10K+ runs, 5 half marathons and in April, she completed her first marathon. She is running Yorkshire marathon in October for Diabetes UK.

New beginning

RamonaRamona training

Ramona lost over seven stone as a result of the lifestyle changes she made, and her life has been completely transformed. She says: “The diagnosis of diabetes helped me become healthier and more confident about myself. It also gave me a stronger sense of community, making me realise the importance of being, and doing things, with other people. I just feel like a brand new person.”

Helping others

“When I started my journey with type 2 diabetes, I was very determined to achieve all of the goals I had set for myself. It was difficult. I had to stay really focused. It made me stronger and helped me achieve success both personally and professionally. This inspired me to share my story and empower other people living with the condition that you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to.

“The key is to look at your diabetes, not as a death sentence, but as a chance to live a healthier and happier life. It’s important to test your blood glucose regularly, take your medicine and work closely with your care team. There are bound to be challenges along away, but they can be overcome. Just don’t lose sight of what motivates and inspires you. Think about what you want to achieve, and take action. If I could do it – you can do it!”

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