Fifty years living with diabetes

Southend Standard: Fifty years living with diabetes Fifty years living with diabetes

TWO people who suffer from diabetes are set to receive medals for successfully battling the condition for 50 years while living a full and active lives.

Margaret Hart, 67, from Southend, was diagnosed with the disease after developing an unquenchable thirst when she was just 15.

Now, 52 years later, she is still giving herself an insulin jab five times a day.

Margaret is now set to the Alan Nabarro medal from Diabetes UK for people who have lived with the disease for 50 years.

Russell Leek, 59, from Ashingdon, will join her in receiving the award.

Margaret said: “The nurses back then were very strict and it was no good being namby-pamby. I just practised on an orange and got on with it.”

The award  was named after a patient who spent his life battling discrimination against people with diabetes. Alan Nabarro was given six months to live when first diagnosed in 1922, but managed his condition for 55 years, thanks to the discovery of insulin.

Margaret has developed coeliac disease, a common associated condition of diabetes, which means she must keep to a gluten-free diet as well as a diet for diabetes.

But she refuses to let it get her down - she is a keen cyclist and is currently in training for walking her next half marathon.

Margaret said: “It is incredible how many advances have been made in diabetes over the last 50 years.

“I have been incredibly lucky with my health. Even if they found a cure for diabetes tomorrow I don’t suppose it would make a huge difference to my life – I would not go and pig out on chocolate.

“ It is a lifetime commitment to diet and I have never felt deprived.”

Russell was diagnosed a few months before his fourth birthday after his mother caught him drinking from the bathroom tap.

He said: “I was very fortunate in having a brilliant doctor, who used to call round at our home. He was a wonderful man and I owe him my survival.”

Consultant diabetologist at Southend Hospital Dr Philip Kelly said: “To manage one’s diabetes so well for 50 years is tremendous.

“At the time they were diagnosed advanced complications were common and life expectancy was often lowered.

“They would have been prescribed a diet, a lifestyle and a routine that few of us could adhere to for a day.

“ Their knowledge of their condition is excellent and they are superb role models for people with diabetes.”

Comments (6)

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4:33pm Thu 13 Jun 13

Basildon_KiD says...

Woopty doo. Hardly a big thing. She looks quite pleased she has it judging by that look on her face. Someone who wants their 15 minutes of fame.
Woopty doo. Hardly a big thing. She looks quite pleased she has it judging by that look on her face. Someone who wants their 15 minutes of fame. Basildon_KiD

7:32pm Thu 13 Jun 13

mikepaterson says...

My dear old dad lived with Diabetes from the age of 7 until he passed away aged 66. He never got a medal though :(

RIP Dad - you deserved a medal!

P.S well done to these 2!
My dear old dad lived with Diabetes from the age of 7 until he passed away aged 66. He never got a medal though :( RIP Dad - you deserved a medal! P.S well done to these 2! mikepaterson

8:12pm Fri 14 Jun 13

shrimpertel says...

congratulations from a fellow diabetic
congratulations from a fellow diabetic shrimpertel

6:06pm Sun 16 Jun 13

runwellian says...

Folk live long active lives with much more serious conditions than this!
Well managed, diabetes is not a big issue, so perhaps we can now have medals for surviving life saving surgery then returning to work, or fro recovering from a minimum number of heart attacks, from living a full life having had limbs amputated!

I know of folk with horrendous health conditions and disabilities that never stop striving to achieve, they would laugh at the thought of getting e medal, they just get on with life!
Folk live long active lives with much more serious conditions than this! Well managed, diabetes is not a big issue, so perhaps we can now have medals for surviving life saving surgery then returning to work, or fro recovering from a minimum number of heart attacks, from living a full life having had limbs amputated! I know of folk with horrendous health conditions and disabilities that never stop striving to achieve, they would laugh at the thought of getting e medal, they just get on with life! runwellian

8:54am Mon 17 Jun 13

hothead says...

runwellian, you are talking from your colon!

I think you are getting confused with Type2 diabetes.

Nevertheless, these people survived Type1 diabetes for many years, and in the early days, things were not as "simple" as they are now.

If you were actually knowledgeable about Diabetes, you would know that many sufferers do in fact suffer from heart problems, blindness, strokes and amputation due to poor circulation caused by Diabetes.

Next time put a plug in it or at least read up before you make stupid statements.
runwellian, you are talking from your colon! I think you are getting confused with Type2 diabetes. Nevertheless, these people survived Type1 diabetes for many years, and in the early days, things were not as "simple" as they are now. If you were actually knowledgeable about Diabetes, you would know that many sufferers do in fact suffer from heart problems, blindness, strokes and amputation due to poor circulation caused by Diabetes. Next time put a plug in it or at least read up before you make stupid statements. hothead

7:23am Tue 18 Jun 13

Russell Leek says...

The combined consensus of comments concurs with the prime objective which was to illustrate that living with diabetes is the least of conditions IF managed well. The ignorant, ill-advised comments only go to underline that fact. You don't have to go blind or loose your limbs. The people who were asked to support the Diabetes centre at Southend Hospital did so willingly and in aid to support both the clinic and Diabetes UK. Oddly enough,, to those who lack the vaguest notion of journalism, Mrs Hart and Mr Leek didn't write the article. Judging by Mrs Hart's comments she had already said what the half wits, having failed to read her quotes, repeated - Diabetes, if well controlled, is the least of diseases
The combined consensus of comments concurs with the prime objective which was to illustrate that living with diabetes is the least of conditions IF managed well. The ignorant, ill-advised comments only go to underline that fact. You don't have to go blind or loose your limbs. The people who were asked to support the Diabetes centre at Southend Hospital did so willingly and in aid to support both the clinic and Diabetes UK. Oddly enough,, to those who lack the vaguest notion of journalism, Mrs Hart and Mr Leek didn't write the article. Judging by Mrs Hart's comments she had already said what the half wits, having failed to read her quotes, repeated - Diabetes, if well controlled, is the least of diseases Russell Leek

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