Climbing Mount Kenya
My name is Dominic Frost and in May 2017, I will be climbing Mount Kenya for Diabetes UK with my girlfriend, Jennifer Chetwood. I am the first British with type 1 diabetes to trek this mountain for Diabetes UK. This is a great privilege but brings in added risks, as we have limited examples to follow in terms of diabetes management, as every mountain and trek is different.
I currently live and work in London but from a young age I was always walking my dogs or going for long bike rides in the countryside of Hampshire where I grew up. Since then I have been trekking and climbing all over the UK and abroad.
The whole point of this challenge is to show people with type 1 diabetes that with planning and tenacity you can achieve feats, which many of us would have been told in UK, when diagnosed, were not possible. Secondly we want to raise money to be invested in finding a cure for this stubborn, irritating illness and confine it to the medical history books.
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at aged 11. Since I was young diabetes has not restricted me from playing football (soccer) for my universities; cricket and rugby at school, but it has been a challenge. Like most type 1s, I have to inject four times a day, test my blood sugar level and watch what I eat in order to keep my blood glucose levels stable.
Mount Kenya is the second highest peak in Africa and we will be climbing to Point Lenana 4,985 meters (16,355 ft), this is a five-day trek, where we will be camping on the side of the mountain. As most head for Kilimanjaro the examples of people with diabetes attempting this stunning mountain are lacking and in terms of diabetes management, it is a blank canvas.
To achieve this mountain, I will have to change my insulin injection levels, test my blood sugar levels every two hours and ensure I balance my food and insulin in order to have the energy to carry me to the summit. Adding to that I will have to keep my equipment working in tropical weather and up to -10 when we reach the top.
One of the biggest issues for any person with diabetes is to stop going into hypoglycaemia. This is an added difficulty when we will already have to deal with altitude, freezing conditions and the physical difficulty of climbing the second highest mountain in Africa but these difficulties can be overcome.
Over the coming months we will doing training treks across the Britain, we have already completed a number of mountains in Snowdonia (Wales) and over Easter we are camping for five days, taking on the highest peak in the UK, Ben Nevis and others. This will help with our planning, but the actual climb will bring in challenges and difficulties we cannot test for.
If you would like to support those with diabetes please visit our website where you can keep up-to-date with our progress and how I have managed my diabetes over our training treks. All the money will go to Diabetes UK as we are funding the trip and climb ourselves.
Read First T1D to Summit Mount Everest—an interview with Will Cross.