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Sarah's story: using the power of music to raise money for Diabetes UK

Sarah smiling with Tris, a musician who lives with type 1 diabetes

Sarah Green

Works as a diabetes volunteer

Volunteering for Diabetes UK and putting on gigs has changed my life.

Sarah spent two years as an office volunteer in Taunton. Inspired by musician Tristan who lives with type 1 diabetes, Sarah staged two concerts attracting hundreds of music lovers - throwing diabetes into the limelight, and managing to raise £1800 for Diabetes UK.

 

Volunteering

Supporting other community members

I love seeing live music and I first met Tris when he was playing drums at a local gig. As well as being an office volunteer for Diabetes UK, I write music blogs. Tris asked me if I’d write a review of his band for a music blog which I was delighted to do. 

Through this we became friends and not long after we met, he asked me to write another review for a new band he was in. The night he was due to play, he called me to say he was really sorry but he couldn’t perform because he’d just left hospital after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
 
Because of my volunteer work at Diabetes UK, I have a great affinity with young people affected by diabetes, and I feel it’s really important to get information to this hard-to-reach group. 

When Tris told me he’d been diagnosed with diabetes, I wanted to help him in every way I could. Not long after he was diagnosed, Tris wrote a song about how to handle a hypo called ‘Completely on Your Own’.

The headlining performer was Felix Hagan and I asked Tris to support him. He sang ‘Completely on Your Own’ and it was a fantastic success. It’s a beautiful soulful song and when Tris sings it, people really connect with it and start to understand what it’s really like to have diabetes and experience a hypo. Through his song, young people at the group including Tris’s friends from university have learnt to understand diabetes and do everything they can to support him. 

Diabetes UK and me

Understanding diabetes through music

I was so moved by Tris’s hypo song, I sent it to Frank Turner, singer-songwriter of the Sleeping Souls, a folk and punk band. He’s my hero and his musical style influenced the type of music you’ll hear at my gigs. 

Frank is a great support and tweeted about our gigs. I sent him Tris’s hypo song which he absolutely loved. This gave Tris a great boost and meant the world to him. 

 

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Tris and Sarah

Running gigs for awareness

At the first gig I put on for Diabetes UK, several musicians came up to me and told me they had diabetes too - and that formed the beginnings of ‘the Gig Family’. 
 
We now have three people with diabetes who regularly play together and are part of our gig community. Paul, who has type 2, plays guitar, has managed to put his diabetes into remission and Gaz, who has type 1, composed and sings ‘The Diabetes Blues’ – a comical song about what it’s like living with diabetes. It’s honest and funny, and goes down very well with the audience. 

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