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Athlete and teddy bear trekking NZ for Diabetes Action Month

Athlete and teddy bear trekking NZ for Diabetes Action Month

Multisport athlete and Diabetes Ambassador Emily Wilson will be running, cycling, kayaking and rafting down the length of New Zealand for Diabetes Action Month this November.

Diabetes Action Month is an annual campaign to educate the public around diabetes as a major health issue that affects almost a quarter of a million New Zealanders.

Accompanying Emily on the trip will be Jerry the Bear, a special teddy bear who, like Emily, who has type 1 diabetes. Jerry has been specially designed as a comfort and educational tool for kids with type 1 diabetes, and will be available through Diabetes NZ. He has a number of embroidered patches that link with a smartphone app so that children can feed him, give him insulin and look after his wellbeing, all while learning how to manage their own condition.

At key stopovers, Emily and Jerry will attend teddy bear picnics organised by local branches of Diabetes NZ.

Emily is International Diabetes Federation youth ambassador for New Zealand and diabetes ambassador for Diabetes Action Month 2017. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack its own insulin-producing cells, in November 2014. Having to engage with the disease on a continuous basis during the day to manage her blood sugar levels by balancing her food intake and insulin dosages did not stop Emily from pursuing her interest in sport and adventure.

In her young life, Emily has notched up some impressive physical feats, including competing in five Godzone adventure races, winning the Young Guns trophy for the fastest under 25 team three years in a row, and placing in the top 6 consecutively.

Emily also participated in the Everest Troble Cone, riding her bike non-stop to the height of Everest (8,848m) up the Treble Cone Ski Field access road on World Diabetes Day in 2015.

Emily will start her epic journey at Cape Reinga on 1 November, expect to be in Auckland ten days later and travel via Hamilton to celebrate World Diabetes Day in Tauranga on 14 November. From there, her route will take her to Rotorua and on to Wellington.

The plan is that she will run, cycle on and off-road, kayak, raft and paddle-board all the way, but if the weather is bad, she might put her feet up to cross to the South Island by ferry. Emily will have major stops in Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill, ending the journey at Bluff on 5 December.

Jerry the Bear will accompany her in a backpack all the way.

“My message is that diabetes should not stop you from doing what you want to do,” says Emily.

Emily's timetable and fundraising details will be updated regularly on her website,, as well as her Facebook page and the Diabetes NZ Facebook page.

Diabetes NZ presents Diabetes Action Month with the support of FitBit, Equal sweeteners and Sanofi.

1 NovCape Reinga• Start point
10 NovAuckland• Rainbow’s End

• Youth Diabetes branch will host kids’ day out

12 NovHamilton• Teddy Bear Picnic, Enderly Park

• 11:30am – 2:30pm

• Diabetes Youth meeting

14 NovTauranga• World Diabetes Day

• Morning with Diabetes Help

• Joining Te Tohu Haumanu and visiting local school

14 NovRotorua• Afternoon at Teddy Bear Picnic
19 NovWellington• Teddy Bear Picnic with Diabetes Youth Wellington
21 NovNelson
26 NovChristchurch
3 DecDunedin• Running Club with Diabetes Otago

• Family picnic and fun day from 11:30am – 2:30 pm

5 DecInvercargill


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  • Auckland