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This is Diabetes: Behind the scenes

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After many months of work, we’re delighted to finally be able to share with you our new campaign, This is Diabetes, which will be appearing on TV and playing on radio across the UK from today.

We know that diabetes is so different for each and every one of you who lives with it. And we know at times it’s not just hard; it’s relentless. But we also know that living with diabetes doesn't have to hold anyone back.

This is Diabetes sets out to help more people than ever before understand what diabetes feels like and to let them know that Diabetes UK is there for them. We hope the campaign will inspire people to talk about their condition, to come to us for advice, support and community and to be part of our mission to end the harm that diabetes can cause.

Trying to condense the unique experiences of almost 5 million people living with diabetes into a 60 second advert was our biggest challenge. So it was important to capture moments that were relatable to as many people as possible; no matter their background, where they were in in their diabetes journey, or where they lived in the U.K.

Real-life stories

To do so, we approached Jon, Liz, Kaajal, Gina, Snita and Libby and her parents, Jayne and Mike, explaining that we wanted to tell their stories to the UK through a new TV advert and campaign of communications. Some we’d worked with before, some were brand new to Diabetes UK, but all of them had powerful, important stories to share.

From Kaajal’s experiences of overcoming stigma at school and finding her passion for ensuring the next generation don’t suffer the same; to Mike and Jayne becoming their daughter Libby’s pancreas, almost overnight, to keep her childhood as normal as possible – each of our hero storytellers have unique insight to the impact diabetes has had on their lives.

Throughout the development of This is Diabetes campaign, we’ve taken views not only from our storytellers, but also from our wider community of people living with and affected by diabetes. We’ve done this to ensure the stories we’re telling not only through our ads, but also on the radio, on our website, in emails, on social media and in the press, speak truthfully about the reality of diabetes.

We met our storytellers in their homes, on set and on location. They invited us to share their everyday highs and lows at home, at work and while they were out and about doing the things they really enjoy - Gina at the stables, Liz at the gym, Jon at football and Libby at gymnastics.  They have inspired others to live their lives to the full and we hope they will inspire you too.

Everyone's journey is different

In addition to our new ad, we’re proud to share with you three short films exploring significant moments in the diabetes journeys of all of our storytellers:

  • This is the day my life changed – the story of diagnosis
  • This is never being held back – why diabetes shouldn’t get in the way of living life
  • This is dealing with opinions – how tackling stigma head on has helped each of our storytellers

Elsewhere, you’ll meet Matt – Diabetes UK's video producer, who played a huge role in creating the campaign and who lives with type 1 – as he talks in News & Views about the unique challenges living with diabetes presents when you’re travelling across the country, working to create a campaign like this. And over the next few weeks, you’ll hear in more detail from our star storytellers, as they outline in detail the different ways diabetes has impacted on their lives.

Tell us what you think

We’re proud of what we’ve produced alongside our storytellers, and we hope you see your own experiences reflected in this campaign. Why not tell us what you think at the Diabetes UK Forums? You can also tell us your story.

Or, if you’d like to hear more, you can also sign up to our emails, to receive our free new This is Diabetes ebook, packed with tips for living with diabetes, from the people who know it best.

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