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Sixth year pupil to lead diabetes awareness week in Orkney

Joanne Miller, Diabetes Scotland Young Leader and sixth year pupil at Kirkwall Grammar, is to lead a diabetes awareness week at her school.


Joanne (17), who has Type 1 diabetes, will be joined by a team of three other Young Leaders and two representatives from Diabetes Scotland to deliver a series of presentations and tutorials, from Tuesday 20 – Friday 23 February 2018, designed to give pupils of all ages a better understanding of the condition.   

Joanne said: “I was diagnosed on 22 July 2005 when I was 4 years old. I don’t remember not having diabetes. I think the fact that there is no break from diabetes is what makes it particularly challenging as it is needs to be managed full time.”

Type 1 diabetes is a serious, lifelong condition where blood glucose level in the body is too high because it can't make a hormone called insulin. No one knows exactly what causes it, but it’s not to do with being overweight and it isn’t currently preventable.

Joanne’s school has always been supportive of her condition: “The school offered me a room where I can take my injections and keep an emergency hypo kit. And when I went through a rough patch controlling my diabetes all my teachers were informed which helped ease my nerves about the possibility of not managing my schoolwork.

“Diabetes Scotland’s Young Leaders project has given me a great opportunity to meet others with Type 1 Diabetes. It has also helped me to open up about my diabetes to other people as we discussed our own condition on the various training weekends. My campaign, as part of the Young Leaders project, is to help raise awareness and understanding of Type 1 diabetes and, along with other projects in the community, we have combined to create the Diabetes Awareness Week in Kirkwall Grammar School.” 

Angela Mitchell, new National Director of Diabetes Scotland said: “The Young Leaders Project recognises that people with Type 1 diabetes are often best placed to identify and develop innovative solutions to any gaps in support, services and information for other young people living with Type 1 diabetes. We are also very grateful to Joanne, and our other Young Leaders, for using their own experience of managing diabetes to help raise awareness of the condition.”

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