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'I've done sponsored walks dressed in a two piece bikini and had my chest waxed.'


Well where do I start? At the beginning I suppose. I was diagnosed 25 years ago when I was 14 and that was the day my life changed for ever.

Not neccesarily for the worse though. Diabetes when you're young comes with slight privileges. For instance, you can eat in class when no one else can, you get out early for breaks so you can beat the queue and be the centre of attention in your class for a while.

Like every condition diabetes has its pluses and its minuses. When I became diabetic I was encouraged to be more sporty as I had became less active previous to my diagnosis, so i joined a football team and instantly told my coach and team mates that I was diabetic and was met with a lot of weird looks as it wasn't as "popular" as it is now.

I had sprouted in height since being diagnosed and was asked to play in defence but still ended up being top goal scorer that year. Soon after I was spotted by a scout and was asked to sign for Motherwell FC where I played a full season and was informed I was playing well above my age group.

I had an episode after training one evening and had to tell one of the management team that I was diabetic and was told the following week that my services would not be required next season. So I rejoined my first team and scouts still came calling from many premier teams, but seemed reluctant for me to put pen to paper when they learned of my condition.

I've lived an active and problem-free diabetic life and met my beautiful wife Pauline and we had three georgeous girls all who seemed to slip through the genetic diabetes net.

Diabetes will be part of every illness that you have and sometimes contribute to them so when I cut into my fingers in a DIY accident (I didn't realise how significant infections would be to a diabetic.) My sugar levels went through the roof and caused me to fall into a coma for three days all because of infection. 

My daughter Caitlyn was diagnosed Type 1 aged 9 and you have no idea how much anger and guilt you feel when this happens. We were encouraged by the diabetes team to attend a Support Group within the local hospital and with me having the condition I thought i didn't - or we didn't - need this as i new all about diabetes.

But I went along with all the family just to show face and to say we had tried it. Well it opened my eyes as to how diabetes has changed through the years and just how many kids have it. We went along the following month and was told that the current secretary was stepping down due to work commitments and would anyone like to be secretary. My wife said that I would do it much to my surprise and I was given a folder with some parents numbers in it and they would see me next month!

I had a look at the books and figures to discover we had £500 in our account and that was basically raised at the monthly meetings from raffles. I have been secretary for six years now and our bank balance has risen to £5000. We take the kids bowling, laser tagging, sledging, to pantos all to make them realise that they are not fighting the condition alone.

Our group has grown fantastically and I am proud to say that three of our kids have won the Diabetes UK Scotland Young Persons Award for the past three years. Our group has been nominated for so many awards and I myself was nominated in this year's prestigiousJohn Ireland awardat the recent recognition awards ceremony in Inverness.

I was last week nominated to be made chairman of the group. To raise funds I've done sponsored walks dressed in a two piece bikini and had my chest waxed and have been asked to help run this year's 'Walk the Extra Mile' campaign for the Glasgow/Lanarkshire area.

Diabetes has many ups and downs, but if you stay positive and committed it won't beat us and I certainly won't let it beat me!

Words by Barry

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