St Albans dad cycles through the London night in aid of diabetes research

PUBLISHED: 17:00 29 June 2016

Nightrider Jason Wills

Nightrider Jason Wills


Nightrider Jason Wills was putting his best foot forward while most people were sleeping on a recent Saturday night.

For the St Albans father cycled 100km across London throughout the night to raise money for type 1 diabetes research in support of his 11-year-old daughter Maddie who has been living with diabetes for two years.

Jason said: “Before Maddie was diagnosed, I had no idea diabetes was such a difficult condition to manage, especially in a child. Other parents going through the same things as us have quite literally been lifesavers, and I wanted to do something with them to raise the profile of the illness.”

With a group of 25 calling themselves the Diabetes Dads because all their children suffer from the condition, Jason set off on the 100km Nightrider charity bike ride at 11pm before finishing in the early hours of the morning.

The dads met on the Children With Diabetes (CWD) Facebook group, and decided that the Nightrider event was the perfect challenge for them.

Jason explained that one of the least understood aspects of type 1 diabetes was the impact it had on a child overnight with blood sugar levels fluctuating dramatically once a child was asleep.

He said: “Overnight blood sugar drops and spikes can be very dangerous. We rarely sleep a full night, and we’re sometimes up all night trying to stabilise an unhealthy level. Nightrider resonated with us as group of Dads – if we’re up all night anyway, we might as well be raising money to help find a cure.”

The dads made a big impact on the evening, taking over the #DiabetesDads hashtag on Twitter and raising £14,465 so far for the type 1 diabetes charity JDRF to use in their research.

St Albans mum and friend Kathleen Granier, who had seen the impact diabetes had on Maddie and her family, also took part in the event, cycling the 60km route, along with a group of mums from the Facebook group. Their total funds raised is expected to amount to well over £20,000.

The Diabetes Dads’ fundraising page is still open for donations here.

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Recently we, as a family (minus two of the kids), visited The Lodge RSPB reserve in Sandy, Bedfordshire. I had never been before, which is perhaps amiss of me as a birdwatcher as it is the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or RSPB and only 45 minutes drive from home.

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