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Advice for people with diabetes and their families

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George Harris - speaker volunteer

Our sociable speaker on diabetes is getting his voice heard. Here’s his volunteering story so far:

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"I’ve always been a sociable person and love to meet new people, listen to their stories and share with others my journey so far. I have had Type 1 diabetes now for 10 years this November and it was only recently that my attention to detail and desire to better my health through nutrition and fitness has really increased. It’s hard to describe but I’ve just had an explosion of motivation and passion to learn more about diabetes and ultimately help others along the way.

So from this new and exciting hunger I decided to put my love for public speaking to use and give something back. I signed up to volunteer for Diabetes UK and was delighted to be invited to attend a public speaking training session held locally.

I arrived at the training to be met by many friendly faces, there were 8 attendees and all of us were affected by diabetes in some way. This was very odd at first and exciting because although there are over 4 million diabetics in the UK you still feel as though you are alone! I found it very funny to hear many bleeps and random tunes throughout the day from the various medical devices we all had. It was great to be in an environment where no one wondered what that noise is and then telling you to turn your mobile off!

The morning was packed full of informative content including facts and figures, interactive videos, questions and answers and literature that can be used in our speeches. Although being a diabetic I learnt an awful lot which I have used since with my own health and sharing with others.

The second half of the day focused on how to deliver our presentation and how to adapt to different audiences, it also included the minimal admin involved to be eligible to present. I came away from the training feeling great about presenting and excited to share my new found knowledge about diabetes.

Within a week I had organised my first talk with my former college (Yeovil) to present in a few weeks’ time. I was in constant contact with the college to found out about my audience and also to give me the best approach to plan my attack! I was delighted to arrive at college with 50 sports students attending my talk; as a keen sportsman and sports graduate I wanted to engage my listeners with similar stories and something they can aspire and relate to.

The presentation was a great success. All the students as well as three lecturers were very interactive and constantly engaged in my explanations. At no point did I feel as though I was draining or presenting in a boring matter, I keep it lively by always asking questions and adding a humorous side to each slide. The talk lasted just over an hour and I’ve received positive feedback which I‘ll take forward to future events. I’m now in contact with various colleges, schools and universities to arrange my next talk.

I’m delighted to have joined the volunteering team at Diabetes UK and it’s an honour to be able to talk in front of people with the charity on my T-shirt. I would thoroughly encourage others to step forward and join the team. It’s such a rewarding feeling to know that you are potentially helping people improve their health and ultimately help them lead a better and more active lifestyle."

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