Sunderland teacher's 24-hour rowing challenge for diabetes charity

A primary school teacher from Sunderland aims to row for 24 hours straight to raise money for the diabetes charity that helped change her life.

By Tom Patterson
Thursday, 17th March 2022, 10:27 pm
Gabby wanted to give back.
Gabby wanted to give back.

Gabby Maxfield was inspired to put her endurance to the test in support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) – which funds medical research to cure, prevent and treat type 1 diabetes.

The 26 year-old, who teaches Year 5 children at Hill View Junior Academy, in Sunderland, and rows for the women’s squad at Durham Amateur Rowing Club, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 13 years ago.

The condition means Gabby must keep a tight control of her blood glucose levels through insulin to prevent complications.

Gabby Maxfield in training

Recent advances, made possible through medical research, means she now uses a glucose monitor and insulin pump and no longer has to regulate her blood sugar levels using finger pricks and needles.

Gabby hopes her fundraising efforts will mean more people can get access to the life-changing technology.

Gabby, from Durham, said: “I want to do this rowing challenge to show that having type 1 diabetes doesn’t have to hold you back or put a stop to doing things.

“The challenge is going to be really tough and I will have to keep an eye on my blood sugars throughout but I’m really determined to manage the full 24 hours.”

She added: “My life changed when I began using my glucose monitor and insulin pump. It made things much easier to manage, especially when it comes to sport. Now I can adjust my insulin and take part in activities like rowing.

“It’s great to know that I’ll be helping JDRF to fund type 1 diabetes research and support other people with this condition.”

Gabby has already reached her initial fundraising target of £500 and she is now hoping to pass the £1,000 mark from her all-day effort.

The challenge will take place on Saturday March 19 – starting at 9am – and will see Gabby complete 24 hours on the electronic rowing machine at Durham Amateur Rowing Club.

To sponsor Gabby in her fundraising challenge, go to