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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.

A young child in a high-chair eating food

MosheMoshe was 11 months old when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Getting involved in research

Around six months after Moshe’s diagnosis, we were referred to a three-month study by Cambridge University on DIY closed loop systems. Within two days, with computerised decision making, we were able to have a night’s sleep.

Seeing the system keeping our child safe was incredible. Not only could we sleep, but we could sleep anxiety-free. We didn’t have that fear that we might have missed an alarm warning us that Moshe might be going into a severe hypo.

Following that study we moved onto using an OpenAPS system, a type of DIY closed loop system which uses a small computer and battery pack, to safely manage Moshe's blood sugar levels.

Exeter University study into the very early onset of type 1

After the first research study, we were contacted by a team from Exeter University. They were looking for blood samples from children who were diagnosed at a very young age. The aim of the Exeter University research is to get a better understanding of the genetic make-up of early onset type 1 diabetes. The researchers are trying to understand whether onset could be delayed or possibly even find a cure.

For us, taking part in the research was extremely straightforward. Researchers came to our house to take a blood sample from Moshe. We timed their visit to coincide with his afternoon nap, so he was asleep the whole time. The sample was then immediately couriered to a university in London.

Later, I was asked to become a parent representative on the research team. I now join their meetings every six months.

The team faces a bit of a challenge around being able to compare a blood sample from a very young child with diabetes with a blood sample of a child of the same age without diabetes. It’s very easy for parents who have a child with a condition like type 1 to allow a needle to be poked into them for the purposes of research. We're used to testing their blood sugar levels. But for a family with a child without diabetes that could be a little more daunting.

Read Moshe's complete story
Deborah wearing a beekeeper suit

Deborah Goodman

Why using the Know Your Risk tool is so important

I wasn’t aware of Diabetes UK before using the Know Your Risk tool. I think sharing my story is important as it might encourage someone in my position to take on this challenge by doing the survey and making positive changes.

You could look healthy on the outside but still be having issues on the inside. If you take me, I do look very healthy on the outside, and don’t have any of the issues often associated with diabetes such as high blood pressure or being overweight. But how we look isn’t actually an indication of anything and there might be no immediate signs of diabetes so it can be hard to find out.

Recently, I was reading a WHO survey of who is at most risk from Coronavirus and I was shocked to learn that diabetes is one of the largest underlying contributing factors to dying from it. This really hit home. Knowing if you are at risk of anything that deadly has to be a good thing for you to do something about it. And this is why using the Know Your Risk tool is so important.

If you think you might be at risk of developing type 2, try our Know Your Risk tool to find out.  

Read Deborah Goodman's complete story
Helen celebrating finishing her one million steps

HelenWalking in memory of her dad and brother, David, who died of type 2 diabetes complications

My advice to anyone considering taking on One Million Steps

Everybody on the One Million Steps Facebook group is brilliant. There’s no negativity. Everybody supports each other. It’s just lovely. 

 I’d say go for it. It makes you feel so much better. I’ve gone down four dress sizes. The whole thing is just brilliant.

It’s not just for a good cause. It’s the whole package. It’s doing something positive for yourself, it’s about the people you’re helping. You’re just enjoying life and going for it. I can’t thank Diabetes UK enough - you’ve done us proud. 

Read Helen's complete story
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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