If you follow the IDF Life for a Child Programme on Facebook, you may already have read and been inspired by Veerle Vanhuyse. Veerle contacted LFAC in August, while training for the 2014 TCS New York City marathon, wanting to raise money for the Programme. A dedicated runner, Veerle was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 16, and 27 years on intimately understands the challenges diabetes can present on a daily basis.
Having run the Berlin Marathon in 2012 and raised funds for a large University Hospital in Belgium, she was unsure about raising money for another diabetes-related cause. Then she found out about LFAC. "I decided I'd love to support Life for a Child" said Veerle, "I think it's a wonderful programme and it makes me realise how spoiled I am as a person with diabetes with all my meds and devices."
As a Belgian, she was particularly moved by the work of Dr Marguerite DeClerk, a remarkable Belgian nun and doctor who has been taking care of people with diabetes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for many years. The decision was made to direct all funds raised to LFAC's work with Memisa, one of the Programme’s partners in DRC.
Preparation for the race was not without serious obstacles: recently diagnosed with arthritis, and then tenosynovitis - inflamed tendon sheaths of the foot - four weeks out from the race, Veerle was forced to rest completely for the last month. Despite this, on November 2 she ran the 42km race in 4 hours 20 minutes, raising over 6,000 EUR for LFAC. A truly marvellous result!
Veerle had this to say about the experience: "No words can describe the feeling of being part in this event. Accomplishing a personal goal you worked for so hard for so many months, running through the beautiful city, 1 million spectators cheering on you is one thing. But it's much more than that. Many, many participants also ran for a good cause, and that makes it even more special. You feel a bit like a team of 50,000 people, all with a different and beautiful purpose."
LFAC sincerely congratulates Veerle and thanks her for her wonderful efforts on behalf of the Programme.