50 Years Living with Diabetes in Ireland

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about attending Diabetes Ireland’s Health Awareness Exhibition in Dublin and that I was most looking forward to attending the medal ceremony to people who have lived with diabetes for 50 years. Read more about the other happenings on the day here. It was SO worth the 3 hour drive with kids in tow. There were 16 of these soldiers receiving medals. Each one was called up to receive their medal and Kieran O’Leary, Diabetes Ireland CEO, gave a brief biography of them.

As I watched each of them receive their medal I was struck by the fact that by the time I receive mine, living 50 years with diabetes won’t be such a big deal, such a monumental achievement. It will be the norm.

What all of these guys went through from boiling glass syringes, from the embarrassment of testing their urine for glucose to the restrictive dietary regimen. Remember, when these guys were diagnosed they were told that they would never eat sweets again and that they could eat diabetic chocolate.

Out of the 16 medalists, only 3 (well technically 4, cos two women were sisters;-) have a family member with diabetes, either before or after.

Speaking to Kieran O’Leary afterwards, he told me that Diabetes Ireland would like to make this an annual event. They realised that this year only three endocrinologists put forward nominees for medals and that there are many more people who have lived for 50 years with diabetes and more out there.

I would also like to see a 60 year medal as my friend Stan, from Clare is already at that mark and my friend Pauline is nearly there.

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