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Sandra’s medal marks 50 years with Type 1 diabetes

Sandra Spray Hazlehurst, from Pontypridd, has received a medal marking living with Type 1 diabetes for 50 years.

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Sandra was diagnosed with Type 1 when she was 18 years old. Now 72, she first found life with the condition very hard but has never allowed it to hold her back. She worked for HTV for 25 years and has for the last 10 years been a Governor on the Board of the University of South Wales.

A considerable change

Over the years since her diagnosis, Sandra has seen things change considerably. Sandra said, “My sister was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was seven, so I knew a lot about it when I was given my diagnosis 11 years later.

“I hated it to begin with. It was awful because I had to eat meals at the same time every day and the needles were very thick and intimidating to use. Much more is known about Type 1 nowadays.

"When I went on a diabetes education course 40 years after being diagnosed, I learnt so much about managing my diet."

“Another breakthrough came when syringes became transportable. I could carry my insulin easily in my handbag.

"I always let people know about it and do my insulin injections in public. It’s important to be open about it to raise awareness and help people understand the condition more.”

“My rule is that diabetes lives with me, not the other way around."

Sandra received the Alan Nabarro medal in recognition of her perseverance and courage in managing the condition. Alan Nabarro waged a lifelong battle against discrimination against people with diabetes. In 1968 he was awarded the OBE for his work with young people in London.

Dai Williams, National Director, Diabetes UK Cymru, said: “Sandra is an inspiration and has really shown how taking control of your diabetes can lead to a long and healthy life. Many congratulations Sandra on this achievement.”

Diabetes UK awards medals to individuals who have lived with diabetes for 50, 60, 70 and 80 years. If you know someone who deserves a medal, find out how to get one here.

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