18 December 2012 – Local woman presented with National Diabetes award
A lady given four days to live when she was diagnosed with diabetes 50 years ago has received a national award in recognition of her achievement.
Ann Clegg, of Ilkley, reached her milestone this year and was presented with the Alan Nabarro Medal at Airedale Hospital on behalf of Diabetes UK. Over the past three years, less than 50 medals have been awarded across the Yorkshire region.
A prime example of how anyone with diabetes can live a long and fulfilling life with the correct management of the condition, the 78-year-old, who has two children, four grandsons and three great granddaughters, has held a wide range of jobs, from secretarial work to cruise ships. Mrs Clegg says her good health is a result of a fortunate life with much support from her family. her daughter, Alison, has also been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Ann Clegg said: “Diabetes wasn’t very common at all when I was first diagnosed, in fact they didn’t even have specialist care for diabetes and I was admitted to a heart ward. Thinking back, I was probably suffering from about the age of 16 but the illness was so rare that I wasn’t diagnosed for another 12 years.”
Linda Wood, Northern and Yorkshire Regional Manager for Diabetes UK, said: “It is with great pleasure that we present Ann Clegg with one of our Alan Nabarro Medals. these medals are given to people with diabetes who have lived with the condition for 50 years and are given to mark the recipient’s valiant fight against the condition. We know that many people’s lives can end up being shortened by diabetes but we also know that it is possible, with good care, to live a long and active life with the condition. “
Diabetics today are diagnosed quickly and have much simpler condition management, compared to when Mrs Clegg was first diagnosed at the age of 28.
Over the past 50 years there have been many changes and advancements in the management of diabetes, including more information and better public understanding of the condition.
Dr Andrew Pettit, a consultant specialising in diabetes at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust said “Type 1 diabetes is due to a lack of insulin so for patients with type 1 diabetes to stay alive they need to take insulin regularly via an injection. It was only in the 1920’2 that insulin was first used in the treatment of diabetes.
“The treatment has seen many advances over the last 90 years: initially patients had reusable glass syringes but these days sophisticated syringes called pens are available, which makes giving the injection much easier and insulin can also be given by miniature pumps. Insulin has also been adapted over the years to work better by injection allowing patients to get their glucose levels closer to normal with a lot fewer low readings.”
Ann added: “We used to sterilise our needles and glass syringes in a pan of boiling water, now I use a needle which is called a pen. I definitely didn’t tell anyone of my condition, I was too scared I would lose my job, but nowadays there’s a lot more information on diabetes and the way I manage my diabetes gives me much more freedom.”
The Alan Nabarro award was named after diabetic, Alan Nabarro, who fought a long battle to stop discrimination towards people with the condition. When first diagnosed, Alan Nabarro was given six months to live but went on to live for 55 years with the condition after the discovery of insulin.
More information about diabetes can be found at www.diabetes.org.uk as well as your local GP.