The head of Diabetes UK in the south west is pounding the streets of Somerset this October as part of the charity’s Month of Miles Challenge, raising vital funds to help transform the lives of people living with diabetes.

Phaedra Perry, from Ilminster, is no stranger to running - having completed a variety of events including both the Bath Half and, impressively, the Langport triathlon when pregnant with her daughter in 2014. However, juggling children, work and a succession of injuries has meant keeping fit has been firmly on the backburner in recent years.

“I know how essential exercise is to maintaining your health. My father had a life-changing stroke in his fifties and his mother also. And while I know I can’t change any genetic predisposition I might have, I can choose to make exercise a priority to reduce my risk. This should be enough to motivate me, but it often isn’t,”

Lockdown, however, has prompted reflection and a strong desire to set an example to her own children.

“What if my health deteriorates earlier than it should have done because I never seem able to make the time to exercise? What would that look like for my family? What if my kids start to put their own health last because that’s what they’ve always seen me do?

“I want them to grow up with a healthy mum who’s going to be around for as long as possible and for them to value the importance of looking after themselves physically and emotionally. Simply talking about it is not the same as showing them.”

Working for a large health charity means Phaedra is privileged to hear many inspiring stories of overcoming adversity.

“Whether it’s someone diagnosed with type 1 diabetes who is learning how to get back into running or cycling, while also learning how to manage insulin and hypos on top of broken sleep, or someone diagnosed with type 2 diabetes completing a marathon for us, despite being a novice runner.

“All these stories tell me that it’s possible if you really want it and, if they can do it while managing a long term condition as emotionally and physically challenging as diabetes, I can certainly do it.

“Our supporters in the south west give so much of their time, money and energy to help us continue to fund ground-breaking research and provide support services, taking on a Month of Miles is the least I can do to thank them for all they have continued to do throughout 2020.”

Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. If not managed well, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications. With the right treatment, knowledge and support people living with diabetes can lead a long, full and healthy life.

Matt Robert, Improving Care Manager Diabetes UK South West, said: “The Diabetes UK team in the south west wish Phaedra the best of luck. We are cheering her on and look forward to virtual celebrations on the 31st.”

“This year we’ve seen demand for our own services reach record levels, while our own funding has been significantly impacted. More so than ever, people with diabetes need us, but we need your support to be able to continue fighting their corner.”

To sponsor Phaedra visit