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Advice for people with diabetes and their families

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Diabetes is one of many things Claire and Martin have in common

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I met Martin at a Diabetes UK summer camp in 2000. We were both there as volunteers. I was diagnosed with diabetes at nine and was a shy child and so even at 18 going away to a residential camp was a big deal for me.

We helped with arts and crafts, swimming and discos. It was great to show the children that having diabetes wouldn't hold them back.

After the camp finished, Martin and I went our separate ways, but we met up the following year at the next camp. A few months later, we met up at a Diabetes UK pub quiz and we swapped numbers.

A few months after that, he suggested going to the cinema. When we met up, he was drinking a can of coke and eating a packet of crisps. The first thing I said was, 'Oh, you're hypo!' I think we both felt it was nice he didn't need to explain to me what a hypo was. We became a couple and got married on 16 April 2007.

Friends and family

At our wedding, the bride, groom,  best man and Martin's sister all  had . In the speeches they all made references to how the condition had brought us together. We look after and support each other, but we try not to get too involved with each other's condition. While diabetes is very much a part of our lives, it's just one of many things we have in common."

Martin's story:

Because my sister has had diabetes since she was a toddler, I'd been going to Diabetes UK family weekends since I was a child. So, when I got diagnosed at 18, I had a good understanding of what it all meant. I had been volunteering as a leader at Diabetes UK camps for a couple of years before Claire started. My first impression was that she was bubbly and threw herself into everything. Now we're together, we have an understanding that I have my diabetes and Claire has hers.

Diabetes journey together

Obviously, we take an interest in each other and when we go to clinic we find out what each other's HbA1cs were or what the consultant said. Our hypo symptoms are very different. Claire becomes short and abrupt, while I'm more of a giggler. One day, we were looking for somewhere to have lunch when I started giggling. Claire got angry and snappy, which I found even funnier.

When we got to the restaurant, the waiter asked if we wanted to order a drink and we said in unison: 'Two cokes!' It's nice that we share an understanding about each other's condition, but it's just something we get on with. We both feel there are far worse things we could have than diabetes.
 

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