Angela Allison, a Preston mother of five, was winner of the inaugural Quality in Care (QiC) Diabetes People’s Award last week (Wednesday 17 November). Angela was inspired to develop a website after her 10-year-old daughter Claudia was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Spurred by the battles she and her husband Donald have faced since Claudia’s diagnosis on May 1 2008, and inspired by friends with diabetes, Angela set up Diabetes Power, an online forum for other parents and children living with diabetes to share experiences.
The site also aims to raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes and the early warning signs. Through the site, Angela has fronted a campaign to try and eradicate diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a potentially-life threatening complication of undiagnosed and untreated Type 1 diabetes. It also provides people with diabetes and their parents and carers with factual information and news, as well as blogs and video stories detailing what it is like to live with Type 1 diabetes day-to-day.
Angela (pictured, right, with NHS Diabetes Director Anna Morton) said, "I am absolutely thrilled to be nominated and to win the award, and what it means is hard to put into words. Since Claudia was diagnosed on May 1 2008, we have worked towards a Type 1 awareness campaign. To finally see the campaign moving forward means all the hours and the work have been worth it. If we prevent one person from being in DKA at diagnosis, the campaign will have been a success. Without the support of other parents with children with Type 1 and adults with Type 1 this campaign couldn't have started."
Using social media Angela has extended the reach of the support the site provides. Many of Angela’s advocates know her only fromthe Diabetes Power Facebook page. Zoe Sherwood is one such mum. When her son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, Angela pointed her in the direction of the online diabetic community.
A "truly amazing" woman
"Angela is one of those people who always wants to help everyone and is really trying to push Diabetes Power. She has helped me no end and is one of those truly amazing women. She juggles being a wife and mother, caring for her five children, some of whom have serious health issues, with supporting other people. I am delighted Angela has won the QiC Diabetes People’s Award; she really deserves recognition for what she does," said Zoe.
Angela’s awareness-raising and support activities span far beyond the internet and include petitions to Downing Street and taking part with Claudia in the Nipro Europe bike ride. The ride started on November 16 from the Diabetes Centre at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, and saw mother and daughter cycle more than 150 miles to the NEC in Birmingham.
"Shining example of people power"
Anna Morton said, "Angela is a shining example of people power. Angela’s website has provided support, answers and awareness to people with diabetes and their families and carers. With all the changes taking place in the health service, the NHS needs champions like Angela to help make a difference to people with diabetes."
The awards ceremony for QiC Diabetes was held at Sanofi’s headquarters in Guildford on Wednesday November 16. The programme has been developed by PMGroup with support from NHS Diabetes, Diabetes UK and Sanofi. Diabetes was chosen as the first therapy area to be covered by QiC due to the increasing need to find the best way to tackle the social and economic burden of the condition, which now affects 2.9 million people in the UK.
A full list of award winners can be found atQuality in Care Awards website.