Guest Blog: Dani Cochrane on Carrying the Queen's Commonwealth Games Baton

Running with the Queen’s Baton for Type 1!

As told to me by Dani Cochrane, with many thanks

I have lived with Type 1 diabetes for about half my life now, but it has only been in the past couple of years that I have really accepted this and taken it in my stride. I can now honestly say that I am proud of who I am and confident with having Type 1. Not only has it made me a stronger person, but it has opened up so many amazing experiences. As a teenager, I hid away from it, and would pretend it wasn’t there. I didn’t know anyone else with the condition, and was embarrassed to tell people – I was worried about what they would think of me. It has therefore come as a shock to me now how many people are affected by the condition, and how beneficial it is to connect with them and support each other. I am now an active member of the diabetes community, and regularly engage with all sorts of people who live with Type 1, or support a family member or friend with it. It has helped me so much to hear other people’s stories, and I am inspired by every person I have met. If it weren’t for me opening up and talking about my diabetes, I may never have met these people, or should I say, I would never have discovered my connection with them.

You might think I’m digressing. So, back to the Queen’s Baton Relay, which came to Glasgow after travelling through 70 Commonwealth countries, involving over a third of the World’s population. I was absolutely thrilled to be nominated as a Baton Bearer as recognition for all the volunteering I have been involved with for Diabetes UK over the past couple of years. I carried the baton on Tuesday in front of many people who were all out in the sunshine to celebrate the baton coming through their local community. It was a moment I cannot describe, I was full of adrenaline (yes, some extra insulin was needed), and was amazed by everyone cheering me on. But what made my day was meeting three other people affected by the condition I have lived with for 12 years now.

All the baton bearers met prior to getting dropped off at our starting points and had a while to get to know each other. We talked about how nervous and excited we all were, and why we had been nominated. Everyone’s stories were so interesting and inspiring – people had ran sports events for disabled children, ran clubs in their local community, held events in their schools, and there were even some athletes who had competed in previous Commonwealth Games. I started chatting to the girl who was going to be handing the baton over to me. She told me about her colourful life, being an athlete in a range of sports – diving, rugby, dancing, swimming, hockey, and more recently the hammer throw. She is however, more famously known for her appearance on the TV show ‘Gladiators’ as Battleaxe. After being mesmerised by all the exciting things Shirley had achieved, she then asked me what I had been nominated for. I told her about the projects I had been involved in to help young people with Type 1. She had that look on her face as if to say “No way!” We worked out that someone she is very close to is now a volunteer for the project we are now working on. It’s a small World!

We were then dropped off at our starting points and waited for the baton to arrive. I jumped off the bus, nearly knocking one of the police runners off her feet! After giving her a quick hug and an apology, I got speaking to one of the Police officers on duty who had been joking with me about the relay being cancelled. He too asked why I was getting to carry the baton. I told him first that I had Type 1 to set the scene, and I didn’t get the chance to tell him all about the stuff I had been involved in as he wanted to tell me all about his 14 year old daughter who was diagnosed with Type 1 when she was 2. I couldn’t believe it. It felt like it was becoming the Type 1 relay!

My chat with him was brief and it was finally my time to shine… I could see the baton coming over the hill. I could feel the rush of adrenaline and exhilaration and ran towards Shirley to give her a big hug and be given the baton.It was all over so quickly. Partly because my adrenaline took over and I got too enthusiastic, but also because I was running down a hill and my momentum made me go faster and faster! I could hear everyone cheering around me, it felt amazing.

After I had carried the baton, we went to the Finish Line Event which had been put on in our local park. The last baton bearer was to enter the park soon and all the baton bearers were invited to present a Guard of Honour for them arriving. There was music, games, food, and the atmosphere was incredible. Everyone stood clapping and dancing, and waving their wee flags, there were smiles on everyone’s faces. There were hundreds of folk around, but for some reason I spotted a girl, about 8 years old, wearing an insulin pump. She had it attached to her blue jeans, wearing it proudly. I didn’t get a chance to speak to the young girl, but it too was another connection I had made on the day I carried the baton, with someone with Type 1.
I try not to let my Type 1 take over my life, but on this day I was happy for it to become a focus. I wouldn’t have been there without it, I wouldn’t have had a connection with those lovely people without it, I wouldn’t be me without it.


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My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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