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Celebrating World Diabetes Day in the south west and south central region

World Diabetes Day (14th November) is an important date in our calendar, and this year we had a wealth of activity taking place across south west and south central, both on the day and in the lead up to the big day. From fundraising to awareness raising to celebrating research, we’ve rounded up all the exciting things that happened.

An exciting news announcement  

We announced the launch of a new world-first study, led by the University of Bristol, which will screen 20,000 UK adults for type 1 diabetes.

Local Bristol resident, Erika, spoke to us about her experience of being diagnosed with type 1 when she was 32 years old, after the birth of her daughter. Read more about the new study, and Erika’s experience, on the BBC.

Celebrating research  

We hosted a lab tour at Oxford University for some of our supporters in the area, so they could see diabetes research in action. We had some amazing feedback about the tour: 

“EXCELLENT. I wish I could have done something like this years ago. I might have taken up medicine!’ 

“Just to experience the labs, meeting the team and learn about the research was a great experience.” 

“The whole tour was fantastic. The area where patients take part in research and investigation made us want to volunteer ourselves for more research. Overall, the enthusiasm from all of the researchers for their subject and their vision of a bright future was inspiring.” 

Local schoolboy Ben, who attended a similar lab tour seven years ago when he was eight years old, spoke out about his experience of the tour, and how it inspired him to then return to the same lab, to complete his recent work experience placement.  

Read about Ben’s dreams of one day finding a cure for diabetes.

Fundraising activity  

Megan and brother stood smiling at camera
Megan raised over £4,000 by running 100km on World Diabetes Day.

Megan from Bristol ran an incredible 100k in one day to raise funds for us and to celebrate 100 years since Frederick Banting and John Macleod won the Nobel Prize for discovering insulin. She was motivated to take on the challenge after her brother Max was diagnosed with type 1.

She smashed her £1,000 fundraising target, raising over £3,000! 

The Swindon diabetes support group has raised over £8,000 for research in recent years, so we spoke to one of the group’s volunteers, Matthew, about his motivations for fundraising.

Volunteering activity  

Our volunteers were out in full force helping to raise awareness of diabetes and provide support to people affected by the condition.

The Isle of Wight support group were in the main town of the Isle of Wight, Newport, in St Thomas’s Square, handing out flyers about living with diabetes. Group Coordinator Melody said it was a busy day and “we didn’t go five minutes without someone coming up to us". 

Community Champion Dolly was at Slough Library sharing diabetes resources. Dolly is regularly at the library, promoting self-management for people living with long term medical conditions and had a successful day of conversations with local people affected by diabetes. 

Working with local health systems  

We supported the Cornwall Integrated Care Board with local events including a Diabetes Roadshow held at a GP practice that provided people with all nine annual diabetes health checks in one appointment.

Most said that the ‘one-stop shop’ approach was highly significant; one lady told us that as a busy farmer multiple appointments are difficult. Another explained that she is dependent on public transport and so making a single trip is less stressful, saving her time and money.  

Local partnerships  

Our Diabetes Support Worker Steph and our amazing volunteer Spencer were busy in Devon and Cornwall supporting Fisherman’s Mission, a charity that works to support fishermen and their families.

The aim was to provide health services to fishermen as they often can’t get to appointments because their work is largely dependent on the weather. If they book an appointment, they then might not be able to attend if the weather is good and they need to get out to sea.

Steph had lots of great conversations with local fishermen, discussing risk and prevention, and was able to refer those at high risk of type 2 diabetes, to Healthy Cornwall who were carrying out NHS checks. 

Nailing Diabetes  

People across the region painted their nails blue as part of our Nailing Diabetes campaign, including team members Gary and Keith and the Cornwall ICB team! 

A new Instagram page  

We used World Diabetes Day as the perfect opportunity to launch our regional Instagram page. Follow us and stay tuned for local-focused content. 

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