Coleraine lady nominated for Diabetes UK Medal

Glynis Sherlock from Coleraine has been presented with a Diabetes UK Alan Nabarro Medal for successfully living with diabetes for over fifty years.

Mrs Sherlock was nominated for the award by her Diabetes Specialist Nurse in the Northern Trust, Mary Glass. Mary, who works at Causeway Hospital, said “I have been seeing Glynis for a few years now and she is such a good advert for diabetes control. It can be difficult to get used to diabetes and keep your blood glucose steady but Glynis has always been very committed to maintaining good control. I am delighted that Diabetes UK provide this award and it has been lovely to see Glynis get some recognition for her good work and sensible attitude.”

Glynis was presented with her award by her consultant, Dr F Tracey at Causeway Hospital on Tuesday 19 August. Naomi Brown, Fundraising Manager for Diabetes UK Northern Ireland, also attended along with the Mayor of Coleraine, Councillor Duddy, who presented Mrs Sherlock with a bouquet of flowers. Speaking she thanked the healthcare staff who assisted her in managing her condition: “I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the entire Medical and Nursing staff at what was Coleraine Hospital and is now Causeway Hospital. Diabetes isn’t always an easy condition to live with but knowing you have supportive professionals who will guide you through makes such a difference”

The Alan Nabarro Medal commemorates the memory of Alan Nabarro who was given six months to live after being diagnosed with diabetes at the age of seven in 1922. However, thanks to the discovery of insulin later that year, he lived for another 55 years. During his lifetime Mr Nabarro campaigned tirelessly to put a stop to discrimination against those with diabetes.

During Glynis’ fifty years of living with diabetes she has seen remarkable changes in how the condition is treated: “I was diagnosed with diabetes at 11 years of age. In those days you remained in hospital for three weeks to get your blood sugars stabilised and I was then discharged on one long acting insulin injection. The changes through the years have been dramatic as insulin in those days was administered with needles and syringes which had to be boiled beforehand to be sterilised.

Now I use the disposable pen to administer insulin, and even though I inject myself several times daily, this is better as it gives me more control. In those days you could be admitted to hospital to stabilise your diabetes and this meant at least a three week stay in hospital. Nowadays I am generally supported at home through outpatient appointments and regular contact with the Diabetes Specialist Nurses if I encounter any issues. This makes a huge difference to daily life and being able to carry on with normal activities without diabetes interfering.

I am delighted to receive the Alan Nabarro Medal and would like to thank my Diabetes Specialist Nurse, Mary, for nominating me.”

Diabetes UK has three categories of medal which they present to people who have lived with the progressive condition over a great number of years. The Alan Nabarro Medal marks over 50 years, the Robert Lawrence Medal marks over 60 years and the John Macleod Medal is the highest award marking 70 years of good blood glucose control.

There are two types of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2 and, if not managed effectively, it can lead to long-term complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and amputation. It is a long-term progressive condition and kills more people in the UK than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.

The symptoms include increased thirst, passing urine frequently, extreme tiredness, weight loss and blurred vision. Anyone experiencing symptoms who think they may have diabetes should visit their GP as soon as they can.

28th August 2014

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