Here at Leeds Gymnastics Club, we welcome members from many different backgrounds, who, despite all sharing a love of gymnastics, all have their own unique stories. As this week is Diabetes Awareness Week, it is time to share Laura Dunion’s story.

Laura is a great friend to the Club, and has been living with type 1 diabetes since the age of 8. Now aged 16, she has always embraced her condition, and has used her experience to fundraise, volunteer and speak publicly about lifestyle change, clinical trials and future cures for diabetes.

Two years ago, Laura took part in the Artificial Pancreas Trial as one of the first people to test a technological cure for diabetes. For 3 months, the state-of-the-art Artificial Pancreas controlled Laura’s insulin levels every night in a pioneering medical experiment. Laura’s trial was extremely successful and by the end, her results were similar to those of a non-diabetic.

As a result of this selfless commitment (amongst others), she has now been selected by the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) to represent the UK at its Children’s Congress; set to take place in Washing DC, USA in July.

This recognition represents a huge achievement for Laura. The US government donates $150 million dollars to the JDRF every year, and the Children’s Congress are charged with the responsibility of maintaining that funding, and helping to decide how it can be best spent. Laura will act as one of only seven delegates selected from anywhere outside the USA to visit the famous Capitol Hill; meeting politicians, legislators and leading health professionals to discuss turning Type 1 into Type None.

We at Leeds Gymnastics Club are very proud of Laura’s achievements and wish her the very best as she represents the United Kingdom at the JDRF Children’s Congress. We can’t wait to hear her story when she returns, and fully support all our friends and members living with type 1 or 2 diabetes.

Some facts about living with diabetes

Type 1 diabetes affects around 400,000 people in the UK; including 29,000 children

A child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 5 faces up to 19,000 injections and 50,000 finger-prick blood tests by the age of 18.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, and currently there is no cure.

Please share these official JDRF hashtags to carry Laura’s story around the world with her!

#1ofakind #JDRFCC17

Since publishing, this story has been featured in the Yorkshire Evening Post and you can read the article here