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Aberdeen bus driver champions diabetes awareness at First Bus


First Bus Aberdeen driver Jamie shares the story of his type 2 diabetes diagnosis so others know their risk and can take steps to prevent the condition.

Jamie, from Donside Urban Village in Aberdeen, loves his job as a bus driver with First Bus Aberdeen, helping people to get to work, school or appointments, go shopping, meet family, or go out for fun with friends.

“I really enjoy being able to connect people with what’s important to them in their local community”, says Jamie.

But the 44-year-old, who has been driving buses for 12 years, recognises that sitting at the wheel for long periods of time can present challenges when it comes to his health, which is why Jamie is championing ways to keep himself fit and healthy, and inviting colleagues to do the same.

Jamie was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2019. When he was first diagnosed, Jamie was given the option of going on medication to manage his blood sugar levels or make some changes to his lifestyle.

Jamie opted to take steps to eat well and become more active. He has since lost weight and is managing to keep his blood sugar levels within target range.

Jamie said:

“As a driver for a living, healthy eating can be a challenge.  When you’re on the go, it can be all too easy to stop off at a bakery or pick up a ready meal and get straight back behind the wheel.

“Knowing that high blood sugar levels over time can cause other health problems like heart attacks and strokes, as well as problems with your eyes, kidneys, and feet, I knew I needed to do things differently not only at home, but at work. 

“To help me build more physical activity into my home life, I applied for an allotment. It gets me moving and I’m looking forward to enjoying home grown vegetables, that I plan to share with my family too.

“At work, I spoke to my manager about things I’m keen to do to help others. First Bus has been really supportive. So far, I’ve restarted a walking group that had stopped due to the pandemic. The group motivates us to get into the great outdoors and if you’re looking for a way to include more exercise into your daily routine, walking is a great place to start. 

Jamie held his first walking group event in the depot to help make colleagues aware of the symptoms and risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

"We started by holding a diabetes awareness day and then followed this up with a Wear it Blue Day at the First Bus King Street depot where we wore our Diabetes UK t-shirts to raise awareness of diabetes while collecting donations for the charity. I also took part in the Diabetes UK 62 Miles in March Facebook fundraiser which I really enjoyed.

"Some of the team have signed up for the Aberdeen Kiltwalk in June and we’ve lots of other fundraising activities planned throughout 2024."     

Jamie has the full backing of management colleagues at First Bus Aberdeen. David Adam said:

“First Bus Aberdeen supports the connection Jaimie has with Diabetes Scotland, and is completely behind what he is doing at work to link colleagues with free resources and tools the charity has to help people live well with type 2 diabetes and Know Your Risk of developing the condition.”

Pictured: Walk lead Jamie (third left), with colleagues, Diabetes Scotland volunteers Joy and Dave (centre) and Health Engagement Manager Alison (second right) enjoy a 12.5k walk round Loch Muick near Ballater in Aberdeenshire.

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