Waiting under the shelter of Mile End station, I thought no one would come. It was raining cats and dogs. But one by one, the volunteers turned up with a bright smile, despite the gloomy day. We made our way to London Bridge station, where the start of the One Walk by JDRF was being organised.
JDRF is a charity which pours its resources and energy into understanding, preventing and treating type 1 diabetes. Despite being less common than type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes affects up to 400,000 people in the UK, with a large proportion being children. More significantly, the UK has one of the highest rates of type 1 diabetes in the world, for reasons that are presently not understood. Therefore, it is crucial that charities such as JDRF exist, so we can continue the journey to preventing and eradicating type 1 diabetes.
Our volunteering group were split into smaller marshalling groups of twos and threes. Following this, we were allocated to different vantage points along the walking route, so that we can act as beacons to the walkers. As we made our way to our points, we could only see tourists in ponchos and regular workers muttering under the unforgiving rain. But soon, we had greeted the hundreds of walkers, who were cheerful to the brim, marching on along the One Walk. I couldn’t say whether is was the fact that they were helping type 1 diabetes victims or if they simply enjoyed walking, but the walkers seemed extremely happy as they completed the route.
As the last walkers had passed the final checkpoint, the weather had brightened up, ending the day with a hopeful spirit. All our fellow volunteers had gathered back at the London Bridge area. Soaking in the new warm weather, we had chatted about the tidings of the day. The charity walk had ended with exciting entertainment being offered to the walkers and volunteers alike, such as a mini-concert, football matches and much appreciated food! – Athavan Anbalakan.