Theresa May to champion JDRF’s global research projects
Former UK Prime Minister Theresa May is to become an Ambassador for JDRF helping to promote its global research projects.
The politician, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in later life, will champion the charity’s groundbreaking research including the Connect Immune Research initiative.
This project brings together researchers from across many autoimmune conditions to uncover the common threads in their work – meaning reduced costs, and more new treatments, faster.
Mrs May said: “Connect Immune Research is an example of the pioneering innovation that makes our UK scientific research community so globally renowned. It represents a different way of working across research disciplines, collaborating over shared goals. Innovative approaches like this will help the medical research sector adapt to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
“The UK’s medical research charities are vital to making the UK a world leader in science and research, investing £1.9 billion into medical research last year, and giving a voice to people with conditions such as type 1 diabetes.”
Researchers know there are similarities in the genetic risk factors for many autoimmune conditions. But their research typically operates in disease-specific silos. Connect Immune Research has the potential to transform the lives of four million people in the UK who live with an autoimmune condition.
Mrs May was initially diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2013, following a blood test after losing a lot of weight. When the medication she given failed to work, further tests revealed she actually had type 1 diabetes.
Since her diagnosis she was appointed Home Secretary and Prime Minister, and has always maintained that her condition would not hold her back.
She said: “Type 1 diabetes is a serious condition that requires a carefully managed routine, whether you are a 12-year-old school child or a prime minister standing at the despatch box. But since my own diagnosis, I have seen the progress that JDRF’s international research programme has made.
“Living with diabetes doesn’t need to change what you can do. When I first discovered I had diabetes, I read a great quote from Steve Redgrave who went on to win his last Olympic gold medal after being diagnosed. He said, ‘diabetes must learn to live with me rather than me live with diabetes’. While we continue to hunt for new treatments and a cure, I think that’s a very important message to get across.”
Karen Addington, UK Chief Executive of JDRF, said: “We are delighted to welcome Theresa May as a JDRF Ambassador. Theresa has committed to championing our cause, bringing to life the seriousness of the condition, and raising the profile of type 1 diabetes and JDRF’s research.”