Our Mendip support group held their first Tech Talk in 2017 to share information on everything from pumps to apps to help others manage their diabetes. Here's their story:
Members of our Mendip Support Group
"Mendip Support Group has been meeting for more than eight years, sharing our experience and knowledge to run support groups for adults and children with diabetes.
Life moves on quickly and now the children are taking more control of their diabetes management. Every time we get together the subject turns to technology – the latest hardware, new ways of using existing devices, apps for diabetes management, pros and cons of meters, pumps, sensors.
It turns out that tech moves on quickly too. As a group we wanted to promote the use of available technology to manage diabetes and hopefully broaden the range of options open to adults and children. The committee worked extremely hard to seek out manufacturers and other groups who could help.
On 11 March we hosted a ‘Diabetes Tech Talk’ in Midsomer Norton, near Bath. Diabetes UK were there with a well-stocked stand, as well as stalls manned by Rod Gilkes from Ascensia (Bayer, Contour), Paul Cheverton from Dexcom, Louise Draper from Animas and Helen O’Donoghue and Matt Wilkins from Roche. We were lucky to also have a stand from Input Diabetes, a UK charity which helps people access diabetes technology and support from the NHS.
Our visitors all had a chance to look round the stalls and grab a cup of tea (and a carb-counted cake) before we began with a short introduction from our group. Our first speaker was Lesley Jordan from Input Diabetes: we learned a huge amount from her about continuous glucose monitoring, insulin pump therapy, smart glucose meters and sensor-augmented therapy. Just as importantly, Lesley had a lot of useful information about how to choose appropriate technology and how to access it on the NHS. Phaedra Perry (head of Diabetes UK South West) then gave a presentation on the work being done by Diabetes UK to promote innovation in diabetes management.
We heard too about the focus on campaigning, especially ‘Taking Control’ (improving diabetes education to improve management) and Type 1 diabetes: Make the grade’ (ensuring children are properly supported at school). Next we heard from Lara Dawson, mother of two sons with Type 1, who has created a book called ‘Cook it..Count it..Eat it!’. This is a brilliant resource containing dozens of healthy, carb-counted recipes that are fun and easy to cook.
Our visitors took time to visit the stalls and benefited from the chance to speak directly to manufacturers and suppliers. It was great to see such a wide range of people at the event, from young families to older couples, and to hear so many interesting talks. There was a strong sense of support and encouragement throughout the day. We hope some of the enthusiasm and expertise of the speakers rubbed off on our visitors and, perhaps, even led to some positive changes in their lives."