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Celebrities join experts to challenge type 1 diabetes perceptions

By Editor
2nd April 2019
Type 1 diabetes

Celebrities, athletes, people with diabetes and healthcare professionals took to the stage to share their inspirational stories of living with and managing type 1 diabetes.

Speakers provided fresh perspectives on living with type 1 diabetes through a series of talks at fourth annual Talking About Diabetes event, held on Saturday, March 30, while experts provided insights on the importance of removing barriers and embracing new technologies.

Actor James Norton pictured at the fourth Talking About Diabetes (TAD) event held at The Royal College of Physicians. Photo credit: Katie Collins

Special guest, actor James Norton, best known for his roles in McMafia, Happy Valley, Grantchester, and War & Peace, shared his personal experiences of type 1 diabetes, including how it impacted the start of his career.

He said: “Diabetes has made me more empathetic, and empathy is a wonderful thing. I’m becoming more and more proud of being type one – let’s celebrate our differences.”

James was joined by boxer Muhammad Ali, actor and writer Jade Byrne, Team Novo Nordisk cyclist Sam Brand, BBC Journalist Lauren Turner, and Amy Spencer, who had type 1 diabetes and lives in London, who all shared their personal experience of living with type 1 diabetes.

Dr Partha Kar, co-creator of the event, Consultant in Diabetes & Endocrinology and Associate National Clinical Director, Diabetes with NHS England said: “Type 1 diabetes care and management probably hinges on two things – better self-management and peer support. This event focusses on bringing people together, interacting and learning from each other- whilst also hearing stories of those for whom type 1 diabetes hasn’t been a barrier to achieve whatever they wanted. The main message is of hope – and one built on the foundation of camaraderie.”

Novo Nordisk UK was a key sponsor of the event, which took place at the Royal College of Physicians, London.

Key insights from other speakers included

Muhammad Ali, boxer

“I’m on my way to becoming the first world diabetic champion boxer and I’m not going to stop. As diabetics, nothing is going to stop us in life as long as we keep a check on our sugar levels. Nothing is impossible.”

Jade Byrne, actor and writer

“By sharing my experience, and other people’s experiences of living with diabetes through my play, ‘Pricks’, I hope to provide insight and education about the rollercoaster of emotions that type 1 diabetics and their families can experience. I always knew that I wanted to write a play, and having type 1 diabetes gave me the perfect story to tell.”

Sam Brand, professional cyclist with Team Novo Nordisk

“I treat my diabetes as a friend, not an enemy – it’s not going anywhere, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I try not to worry and embrace it, to be brave and to be positive. I wanted to be a professional cyclist; my diabetes doesn’t even come into it. We {team Novo Nordisk} are a platform to show the world what is possible with diabetes: to inspire, educate and empower.”

Lauren Turner, BBC journalist

“I don’t think my diabetes has ever stopped me doing anything. If anything, having this condition has made me a stronger person. I had experienced issues with my self-confidence before my diagnosis, but diabetes has taught me that life is for living, to take every opportunity I can and to trust myself.”

Amy Steven, lives with type 1 diabetes and is from Portsmouth

“One day I felt like I was treated as a person and not just a patient; I was asked how I was doing, rather than how my numbers were doing. Simple things like this make all the difference.”

Novo Nordisk UK is committed to improving the lives of people living with diabetes, and will continue working with the Talking About Diabetes key stakeholders to drive change in the current perception of living with diabetes in the UK, and ensuring people living with diabetes get access to the best possible care.

Novo Nordisk sponsored the venue and catering for this meeting and provided logistical support. Abbott has sponsored the AV provision for this meeting. Dexcom has sponsored the staging provision for this meeting.

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