Amanda Quarmby-Bennett’s enrolment in the Great Wall Marathon began as a joke.
Last May she was at the pickup station for the Blue Nose marathon, gearing up to run a 10-kilometre race, when she came across a booth that caught her attention.
The booth’s sign asked: “Where will your running take you?”
Without thinking anything of it, she wrote down: “The Great Wall.”
She did some research after the race and learned that the Canadian Diabetes Association has a team that participates in an annual run in Beijing, China.
By August, she was registered to run her first half-marathon with Team Diabetes. This meant that she also had pledged to climb 3,000 steps while running the Great Wall and raise a whopping $9,000 in less than a year.
Although it all began as a joke, the decision to run was a very personal one.
December will mark two years since her husband Shane was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes. And her father was diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes in 2009.
|Amanda Quarmby – Bennett posing for a portrait at the Oval, she will be going to China to run on the great wall of China.|
Diabetes is a chronic, often debilitating, disease in which the body either cannot produce insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it produces. It often leads to high blood sugar levels which can cause organ and nerve damage.
Type 2 diabetes can be managed through physical activity and healthy eating, while Type 1 can only be treated with insulin.
Although her husband is the one with diabetes, they deal with it as a team.
She’s training by climbing up and down 40 flights of stairs. By the end of it, her legs are tired and she’s exhausted.
“But then I remember my husband who has to go downstairs and climb back up because he forgot to take his nighttime insulin shot,” she said Tuesday.
In one day, Shane takes four insulin injections and checks his blood sugar level a minimum of four times. She estimates that he pricks himself with a needle about 3,000 times a year.
Looking at it from this perspective, she said, thousands of stairs are nothing in comparison.
“It’s also a great time to show my son just how important it is to give back,” she said, adding that she chose to support the Canadian Diabetes Association because all the money raised will go to helping people across the country.
“It’s really nice to able to raise that awareness for an organization who truly wants to give back to the areas that they have been in.”
Team Diabetes helps support participants by helping them achieve their fundraising and training goals.
Quarmby-Bennett has raised about $2,500 of her goal so far through online donations and various events, including bake sales.
On top of fundraising, she also juggles a full-time job, other volunteer work, family time and training.
And her training regimen isn’t easy, considering that the Great Wall Marathon has become known as one of the world’s most challenging courses.
The race has grown since its inception in 1999, and now attracts about 2,500 runners from more than 60 countries.
“No matter how busy you are, you can take time to make a difference,” she said.
“You can do it. It’s just a case of saying you will and you want to.”
Those wishing to support her cause can visit www.teamdiabetes.ca and look for “AmandaChina2017.”