The two sisters began battling diabetes in Dungannon before walking the 100-mile walk from Dublin to their hometown later this month.
Emma Donnelly, 23, and Claire, 26, were diagnosed with diabetes in their teens and have since had to change their daily routines.
The ko tyron The girl’s father also suffers from diabetes, and the family has had to learn to deal with this condition for years.
Ahead of their charity walk on April 23, Emma told MyTyrone that the sisters’ biggest challenge is that they must always look out for sudden changes in their sugar levels.
“I was diagnosed when I was 16, my dad was in the family and got it when he was 16,” Claire said.
“My sister adopted me when she was 14, so it is very hereditary in our family.
“I was fortunate to know this and know how the entire insulin system works and what you eat can be challenging.
“Everything has to be measured this way and you have to try to compare your insulin percentage, which can be kind of a guessing game.”
“This is excess storage and can provide you with a lot of long-term consequences in old age,” Claire added.
Claire explained how she learns to listen to her body and know when to calm down.
“One of the most important things to me was when I went to college and went out with friends, I always had to stick to myself and not get carried away too much.
“You should always be vigilant and check your blood sugar level to make sure it isn’t too low or too high.
“I think you have good days and bad days, and sometimes something happens in your body that you can’t control.
“You can do it all: exercise, sleep, and let go of the routine. Even when you do everything you can, it can be very frustrating, but you just have to be positive about it,” Claire added.
Donnelly’s journey with diabetes is made a little easier by the fact that they grew up with their father’s condition and the fact that they can support each other like this, says Emma, helps.
“When both of you were diagnosed, we weren’t completely shocked, we were anxious about what we ate and drank and things like that.
“It’s a huge relief to have this support: When I was first diagnosed, my biggest fear was hospitals, needles, everything.
“I knew the nurses were aware of a relationship with my dad and Claire, it was just a little easier.
“It really saved me and made it easier for me when I was diagnosed.”
Emma and Claire work in human resources and recruit hardworking travelers and say they’re trying not to succumb to the definition of diabetes.
Emma added, “We want to live the life we can best live, whether it’s at work, traveling or spending the night, there’s no point in stopping it.
“It doesn’t make sense to sit at home, so let’s go out and get the most out of life.”
The Dublin to Dungano 100 Miles Walk for Life is organized by the Armagh Tigers Charitable Trust, a fundraiser for diabetes education and awareness in Northern Ireland, as well as the World Vision Korogocho Slum School Kenya project.