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Four patients at Maidstone Hospital have been presented with awards by the Diabetes Team for managing their conditions for 50 years.

Bryn Dobson, Alan Constable, Beatrice Tree and Lynn Shrimpton received the Alan Nabarro medal for living with diabetes for over 50 years*. (See notes to editors for further information about the background to the awards.)

All the recipients attended the event at Maidstone Hospital on Friday 13 November, some with members of their family, and were joined by staff from the centre. Dr Jesse Kumar, Consultant in Diabetes, and Alison Steward, Diabetes Specialist Nurse, presented them with their certificates and medals.

Dr Kumar said: “We are very proud to be able to present the awards to these individuals, who have each lived with and coped with the challenges diabetes for fifty years or more. They set an admirable example to others and show that normal lives can be led and much can be achieved, whilst living with diabetes.”

Diabetes Specialist Nurse, Alison Steward said: “Over the years, all our award recipients have seen enormous changes in diabetes management and have adapted to these changes accordingly. It’s hard enough to juggle the normal pressures of everyday life, but if you add in blood glucose testing, carbohydrate counting and giving up to 5 injections a day, every day of your life with no holiday or day off, you realise how inspiring these people are.
“Diabetes is a life changing condition so these 50 year awards are a real achievement and we were delighted to present them to these four quite remarkable people.”

Comments from the award recipients:

Bryn Dobson said: “My advice to others with the condition is to find out as much as you can to understand diabetes. I have always tried to rule it and not let it rule me.”

Alan Constable said: “There have been lots of changes to the treatment for diabetes over the years but I have always found that regulating my lifestyle – what I eat, when I eat and so on – has helped me stay healthy and in control.”

Beatrice Tree said: “I was diagnosed on my tenth birthday while visiting family in Holland. I have never felt any different to anyone else and have had fantastic support. Diabetes is part of my life and can’t be ignored – you have to accept the condition and live with it in the best way you can.”

Lynn Shrimpton said: “I was also diagnosed at the age of ten and my philosophy has always been to live my life and not be ruled by it. The best advice to others with the condition, particularly those who have recently been diagnosed is, stay in control and know your limits but live your life the way you want to.”

The Alan Nabarro medal

This medal is awarded to people who have lived with diabetes for fifty years. Alan Nabarro waged a lifelong battle against discrimination against people with diabetes. In 1968 he was awarded the OBE for his work with young people in London.

The medals are provided by and presented on behalf of Diabetes UK.