Irish Diabetes Role Models

Irish Type 1 Diabetes Role Models 2014” blog post was originally published on June 6, 2014. So it’s most certainly due for an update.

I don’t know who the most famous person with diabetes is in the world, maybe it really is Nick Jonas? Oohh, that would be lovely. Or maybe there isn’t one? When I was diagnosed in 1993, the famous person with diabetes I was told about was Mary Tyler Moore, who sadly passed away in January 2017. It didn't really give me much comfort though because I wasn’t sure who she was back then, and well, she was a lot older than me. I probably needed a role model who was young and trendy: just like me! (hysterical laughter)

I do get why she was offered to me as a role model though. I did need that kind of reassurance that my diabetes diagnosis was not going to get in my way of achieving anything I wanted to in life and role models kind of do that.

role model (noun)

- a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people.

This is why we need diabetes role models of all sorts. Thankfully, we do have some amazing diabetes role models in Ireland but we could use more. So here’s just a sampling, starting with the most well known.


This list is not definitive but is a collection of people who have made it into print media. I’m sure there are many, many more Irish Diabetes Role Models who live in the public domain.

Ian Dempsey, Type 2 Diabetes, Radio DJ, TodayFM Presenter

Stephen Clancy, Type 1 Diabetes, Professional cyclist, Team Novo Nordisk

Kevin Nolan, Type 1 Diabetes, Former Senior County Footballer for Dublin, 2011 All Ireland Football Championship Winner and Man of the match in the 2011 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final

Gerard Keane, Type 2 Diabetes, Solicitor to celebrities

Karl Spain, Type 2 Diabetes, Limerick Comedian

Naomi Clarke: The Style Fairy, Type 1 diabetes, stylist, blogger

George Clancy, Type 1 Diabetes, IRFU International Rugby Referee, 2015 Rugby World Cup Referee

Alan Sothern, Type 1 Diabetes, Irish international hockey player

Leah Cheung, Type 1 Diabetes, Powerlifter aiming for European Championships in 2019

Mary Flynn, Type 1 Diabetes, Dietician, Show jumper

Catherine Brady, Type 1 Diabetes, World Champion Kickboxer

Kenneth Sweeney, Type 1 Diabetes, Former Senior County footballer in Sligo

Kate Hyde, Type 1 Diabetes, Founder, Dragon’s Den February 2009

Pat Carey, Type 1 Diabetes, Retired TD Kerry

Mary Banotti, Type 1 Diabetes, Former MEP

Alan Kernaghan, Type 1 Diabetes, Former Republic of Ireland Footballer

Photo from  OnTrack Diabetes

Photo from OnTrack Diabetes

However, now that I’m older and, emmmm, wiser, everyone I meet with diabetes is a role model for me:-D