Fifteen King’s students and staff, based in the Centre for Gene Therapy & Regenerative Medicine, are taking on the Diabetes UK #Swim22 challenge. Their aim is to swim either 11, 22 or 44 miles over the next three months to raise as much money as possible.
They have already broken their initial fundraising target by raising over £2,100 for Diabetes UK, a healthcare and research charity that supports diabetes researchers and patients.
Many of the researchers in the Centre are directly involved in diabetes research. Specifically, they are aiming to develop insulin-producing β-cells from stem cells that can support patients with diabetes. Diabetes UK supports pioneering research in the field by providing the necessary funds to support the transition of ideas towards the laboratory.
We chose to take on this challenge as diabetes research is one of the main areas of expertise in our centre. Diabetes UK have invested over £66 million into diabetes research, so we wanted to do what we could to raise awareness and funds for them.– Jasmine Murdoch-Vilaplana, Centre for Gene Therapy & Regenerative Medicine
Diabetes is a complicated and often hidden disease, with its symptoms varying widely between patients. In the UK, 4.8 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes, with a new diagnosis being made once every two minutes.
This is worsened by the fact that an estimated 850,000 people may currently be living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. It is predicted that by 2030 there will be 5.5 million people with diabetes in the UK.
Combined lifestyle interventions including diet, physical activity, and sustained weight loss have been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by about 50%. As well as raising money for Diabetes UK, the team have taken on this challenge to inspire others to get in the pool and start swimming.
So far, our friends, family and colleagues across the University have been very supportive and helped us reach our fundraising target of £2022 - there’s still two months left in the challenge, so we're hoping that we can at least double that target!– Jasmine Murdoch-Vilaplana, Centre for Gene Therapy & Regenerative Medicine