Coronavirus (Covid-19)

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.

Jamie smiling as he takes on his UK Wide Cycle Ride challenge

Jamie Cycling in memory of his dad

Remembering my dad

My dad was diagnosed with late onset type 1 diabetes when he was 34, so the age I am now. My family more generally have quite a lot of thyroid-related issues too, so diabetes is sort of all around me.

Dad sadly passed away after getting cancer about 11 years ago now, so I took on UK Wide Cycle Ride in his memory. I know he got a lot of help from Diabetes UK when he was trying to get to grips with his diabetes, so it seemed like a really good way to give back and support the charity that had helped him so much.

And more personally -  I was coming to the end of a substantial diet where I had lost about four and a half stone, so this challenge was a great way to get me into regular exercise. Completing it felt great, and I actually went a little bit further than planned as I had said that if I hit over £500 when fundraising, I would aim for 250 miles instead of 220!

Read Jamie 's complete story
Tara Lawrence

Tara LawrenceDiagnosed with MODY 3 diabetes 10 years ago

Support from Diabetes UK

I've definitely received a lot of social support from Diabetes UK in the last year. They’ve been there through the whole pandemic to make sure that we’re able to communicate with people we’re not able to see anymore. I didn’t specifically look for support, but it was nice to know that they were always there on the phone or online if I ever did need them.

Read Tara Lawrence's complete story
Bupe laughing

BupeDiagnosed with type 2 during the Covid-19 pandemic

Putting my diabetes into remission

I’ll always be connected to Diabetes UK now. I’d say the cherry on top is that my first review was last August and I was 2.5 stones lighter and I had sent my diabetes into remission. The nurse and GP were very pleased and asked me how I did it and I told them about the challenge. I went again last December for another check and everything was fine. So, they only need to see me once a year now. I’m so pleased that in a period of three months I was able to get myself back on track, put my diabetes into remission and maintain it.

To the people who have been recently diagnosed I’d say: “It’s not the end of the world when you’re diagnosed, you can do something about it and it’s as simple as just put one foot in front of the other and enjoy yourself in the process.”

Read Bupe's complete story
George West

George WestGeorge West was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes four years ago

The ‘Time to Thrive’ conference

The ‘Time to Thrive’ conference that he spoke at in November 2019 felt like a turning point for George and when his volunteering really kicked off. The conference was an informal event for both healthcare professionals and people affected by diabetes. It focused on emotional health and diabetes.   

In his speech, George reflected on his diagnosis for the first time and spoke about the relentlessness of diabetes. He spoke with the Head of the North at Diabetes UK, Clare Howarth, who encouraged him to bring his personal perspective to the audience.  

“She said that although we knew that diabetes was relentless, the health care professionals in the room weren’t living with it day to day. So this would be a chance to start a discussion. I told the story of my best friend being diagnosed with type 1 when we were in Year 7 at school. When my friend told me she had diabetes, I asked “can I catch it off you?”

I titled my talk ‘Can I catch diabetes?’. I spoke about this moment right through to where I was then, my experience at university and how being diagnosed with diabetes had changed my life.”  

Read George West's complete story
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
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