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Diabetes Voice Mike Kendell

Mike is making his voice heard in campaigning for better diabetes services and support for people in his area. Here's his story so far: 

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"Diabetes UK do so much good for so many people living with diabetes in the UK, I wanted to join Diabetes Voices to help raise the profile of Type 1 diabetes and campaign for better treatment for people and families affected by it. The Diabetes Voices training day was excellent and gave lots of ideas and practical advice for how to get started.

In the past year I've been advocating and raising awareness on social media and through our blog by sharing various campaigns. I've written to my MP and local CCG about various areas of concern in my area. Helping as part of the moderating team on the Diabetes UK forum to support people living with diabetes all over the UK.

One online awareness activity that had an unexpectedly large effect was when I spent a day posting on Facebook every single time I interacted with my diabetes as part of World Diabetes Day. So many people I know who have no contact with Type 1 diabetes had no idea about the complexities of what was involved in the day-to-day running of it.

Within the past 12 months I've been invited to speak to healthcare professionals at a diabetes network day in Yorkshire and to families living with diabetes in the Midlands about using social media to support people living with Type 1. I was also able to get a place at TADtalk2017 which was very inspiring.

While not specifically a DUK event, I would say that one of my highlights this year was certainly TADtalk. It was a great opportunity to hear some great speakers with really inspiring stories, and to meet people face-to-face that I have known through online peer-support for many years. It was great to see Diabetes UK, JDRF and INPUT involved in it too.

Sometimes it is difficult to find the time that you'd like to spend volunteering when life gets busy, and sometimes it's difficult and daunting to know how to make a start - but I find it very rewarding whenever I do. It's an opportunity to give a little back. To stand alongside other people who are facing the same struggles every day and to try make Type 1 diabetes a little easier to live with. One of the best things about it is getting to know people - either face-to-face or virtually. It has made me think about my own diabetes completely differently, and I have learned so much from it."

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