Local woman receives medal for living with diabetes
An 82 year old Foulridge resident has been awarded a medal in recognition of living for 50 years with Type 1 diabetes. Mrs Ellis was presented with a Diabetes UK medal at a special ceremony at Airedale Hospital’s Diabetes Centre.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease which develops when the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin. Patients with Type 1 diabetes need to inject insulin regularly to keep blood glucose levels stable and to stay alive.
Mrs Ellis was diagnosed aged 29 following the birth of her son. She had a career as a secretary and in her retirement she was president of her local Soroptimist women’s organisation. As well as her own diabetes, she has also had to look after her son who was diagnosed with the disease aged 14.
Mrs Ellis said, “I never let diabetes stop me from getting on with my day to day life. As well as keeping my career, my husband and I were walkers and I was always following him up a mountain! We don’t get out as much now, but I still try to remain as active as I can. It is difficult, but I manage to follow certain rules – when you have diabetes, everything in life matters towards managing it. I always watch what I eat, and check my blood sugar levels at least three times a day. You can still live a full life and not give in.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect when coming to collect this medal – my husband reminded me that it’s important to encourage people who are just starting out with diabetes, and show them that it’s possible to live a long and full life. I feel so special receiving this medal today and want to thank the diabetes team at Airedale hospital for all their support.”
Diabetes consultant Dr Thet Koko presented the medal. He said, “We are delighted to look after patients like Mrs Ellis who work hard to keep their condition under control. When you have a disease like diabetes, it is not just a case of a doctor prescribing treatment to the patient, but it is a partnership between the doctor, nurses and the patient. We are very proud of Mrs Ellis, and presenting her with this medal is a very special moment.”
The Alan Nabarro medal is awarded to people who have lived with diabetes for 50 years. Alan Nabarro waged a lifelong battle against discrimination against people with diabetes. In 1968 he was awarded the OBE for his work with young people in London.
Also present at the medal presentation were two of the Trust’s non-executive directors Dr Maggie Helliwell and Lynn McCracken.
This is also a special year for Dr Helliwell as she celebrates 50 years since she began as a medical student, and noted that her career paralleled Mrs Ellis’s journey with diabetes. “Presenting this medal helps me to reflect on the diabetic provision in the area, and the ways in which diabetic treatments have changed significantly over the last 50 years. Mrs Ellis is a living testament to how the combination of medical advances and patient education can help someone with a condition like diabetes to use self-care and treatments to lead a long and happy life.”
Lynn McCracken adds, “On behalf of the chairman and the Trust board, we’d like to congratulate Mrs Ellis on her achievement of living for 50 years with diabetes. A lot of people wouldn’t have managed as well as she has – she is a real encouragement to others.”
More information about diabetes can be found at www.diabetes.org.uk or by contacting your GP.