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Advice for people with diabetes and their families

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Diabetes UK and me

We’re here to support everyone affected by diabetes. Whether that’s through our online community, our wealth of online information, or the fundraising events we run — we are continuing to fight for a world where diabetes can do no harm.

Amanda stands in a garden smiling

Amanda SkingleDiagnosed with type 1 in 2001

Fundraising is going really well

I knew about Diabetes UK and I followed them on Facebook. When I signed up for Swim22, I joined a separate Facebook page for everyone taking part. People post about how they’re doing, if they’re struggling. It’s a really supportive place. You get regular emails, there are league tables and there’s website to log your lengths. It felt like I was part of a community.

Sign up for Swim22

Read Amanda Skingle's complete story
Michelle stands on a beach, smiling

Michelle Griffith-Robinson OLY

Inspiring women and girls to make changes

I wanted to get in touch with Diabetes UK because of my family’s experiences with diabetes. I’m a life coach, I do motivational speaking, I talk about why we need to have more women and girls on boards, to make changes. I thought, ‘here’s something that’s so close to my heart. It’s a cause that’s so important to me'.

I want to inspire people to take small steps to improve their health. To make a conscious decision today. Change your breakfast, cut your portion by 25%. Cut the sugar in your tea down gradually, until you’re taking none.

On top of that, I want to show women, particularly black women, that it’s time to kick arse and get on it. We need more women like me, of colour, saying, ‘let’s climb Mount Everest. Let’s go zipwiring. Let’s not limit ourselves.’

At the same time, we don’t need to be doing things to Olympic level. But we need to be able to say, ‘I’ve tried that.’

I want to get the message out to the Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic community that ‘if it can happen to me, it can happen to you. Let’s make changes.’

Read Michelle Griffith-Robinson OLY's complete story
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Chris CookDiagnosed with diabetes in summer 2007 at the age of 33

Room for improvements

Working for the railways, I know that people are very quick to complain when things go wrong. If you don’t complain constructively though, you are part of the problem.

My blindness is the most visible of my medical conditions, but is ironically the one which poses the least threat to my life in a medical emergency.

I recently tried to watch a film on the Diabetes UK website about hypos that didn't have audio description. I couldn’t get anything from it and it made me worry that other things may have been overlooked. 

I got in touch with the charity to tell them that in this instance, they’d got it very wrong. They listened to what I had to say and now I’m delighted to have started volunteering with the online team to ensure that the website is much more accessible for people with sight loss.

Listening to website information

Totally blind people like me use a screen reader, which is a piece of software installed on a PC, tablet or smartphone, which reads out what's on the screen. I'm unable to use a mouse and therefore rely totally on being able to use the keyboard, to navigate around web pages, emails or Word or similar documents.

I’m a member of Diabetes UK. Instead of the printed members’ magazine Balance, I get an audio version on CD which means I can listen to it at my leisure. In the future, I'd love to be able to get a podcast version of it, as this would allow me to browse through the magazine's contents much faster and more efficiently.

I’m happy to speak up on behalf of others, who may lack the confidence to do it themselves. Accessibility should be everyone’s responsibility and I strongly feel that when it comes to making our world more accessible for all, doing nothing is not an option. If there is one phrase or saying, which neatly sums up my attitude to life, it would be: "Always choose courage over comfort."

Read Chris Cook's complete story
mary's story

Mary HamiltonDiagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1980

Raising money for an important cause

I think diabetes gets a bad press and because people can be judgmental about it, it’s hard to raise money for. 

It’s important that we raise funds for technology, because it’s such a help. I know Diabetes UK is trying to get the tech improved for everybody with their Cheque for Tech campaign. My flash glucose monitor means that when I’m out walking, I’m not having to stop and prick my finger and squeeze blood out. I can just do it. We’re very lucky in this country to have the NHS and charities like Diabetes UK.

The fact remains that every day is a challenge. You can have two days apparently the same and one day your sugars are fine, the next day they're spiking all over the place. Let's find a cure. I really would like the children and young people diagnosed today to have a future where diabetes can do no harm.

Read Mary Hamilton's complete story
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Darren ArmitsteadDiagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2018, at age 50.

Learning more about Diabetes UK

I’ve been part of the We are Undefeatable campaign, with Diabetes UK and lots of other charities. The filming was both fun and cathartic – I didn’t think I’d open up, but I did. I was able to balance some of the more serious stuff with my usual dad jokes.

I’ve only recently heard of Diabetes UK, through the We are Undefeatable campaign, so I haven’t had the chance to do any fundraising yet – watch this space!

Read Darren Armitstead's complete story
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