International footballer and manager, Alan Kernaghan was one of the speakers at the Taking Action Now Conference for Diabetes UK Northern Ireland volunteers in April, which was attended by 50 people.
Diabetes UK Northern Ireland Volunteer Development Manager, Heather Causer, said; ‘Without the tireless work of our volunteers we would not be able to make an impact in the lives of people living with diabetes. We rely heavily on the hours and hours of work from people who donate and dedicate their time and their talent to help others living with this condition.
"There are now over 100,000 people living with diabetes in Northern Ireland and this figure looks set to rise year on year. As the number of people with diabetes increases we welcome even more volunteers, who are ready and willing to meet the massive challenge that lies ahead for all of us.
‘Diabetes is serious. It is complex and it is unrelenting. It cannot be ignored or dismissed. Our volunteers understand that and they are the face and voice of this condition, doing what they can to support their local communities. We received so many nominations for our Inspire Awards which is indicative of the variety and commitment of so many people who have taken action against diabetes. It was great to celebrate with our volunteers, those who were nominated and those who received awards on the day.’
Alan presented the awards. Speaking in the run-up to the event, he said: "I am looking forward to attending and talking about my experiences of managing my Type 1 diabetes. I was diagnosed when I was 22 years old and having diabetes did not stop me from being the professional footballer I always wanted to be. I have enjoyed my career in football, both on the pitch and on the sidelines managing my teams, and hope that by sharing my experiences I can help inspire others to push on and tackle the challenges of diabetes along the way."