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Queen’s Relay Baton bearers and a future Commonwealth Games hopeful share their stories of triumph for Diabetes Week 2014

Press release   •   Jun 08, 2014 00:01 BST

As the annual Scottish Diabetes Survey published today shows the number of cases of type 1 diabetes in Scotland continues to rise, a group of inspirational young people with diabetes are sharing their stories during Diabetes Week 2014 to give others hope and raise awareness of their condition.

Diabetes Week, which takes place from Sunday 8 to Saturday 14 June 2014, is Diabetes UK’s annual awareness and fundraising week. This year’s theme for the week is “I Can” which Jane-Claire Judson, Director of Diabetes UK in Scotland explains:

“We know that diabetes can sometimes feel like an uphill battle, but managed properly those affected by the condition can still achieve amazing things. This Diabetes Week, we are encouraging people throughout Scotland to share stories of all the things they can do, and the challenges they’ve overcome in spite of living with diabetes.

“From the Queens Relay Baton bearers who set up our JUST DUK 1T project to future Commonwealth Games hopefuls, there are so many inspirational young people with Type 1 diabetes giving others hope through their achievements.”

One group of young people, who call themselves the Mighty DUKS, formed the JUST DUK 1T project with support from Diabetes Scotland. They came together to develop a resource that met the needs of young people with Type 1 diabetes. Working with Diabetes Scotland and Fixers (an initiative set up by the Big Lottery Fund and ITV) the group created a website and used innovative methods to tell their own stories. All that they do is designed to ensure that other young people with the condition have the information and support they need to effectively manage their condition.

Their hard work and dedication has seen the group presented with a number of awards and titles for their work in 2014: from a Diabetes UK Inspire Award to being selected as Queen’s Relay Baton Bearers for the Commonwealth Games. They have also been shortlisted for the prestigious Mentor UK STAND awards, for which they will learn if they’ve won on 10 June. One of the group, 24 year old Sandi McKechnie from Glasgow will even appear tonight alongside TV star Lorraine Kelly in a new STV talkshow.

Speaking about her involvement in the group Sandi said:
“The group has introduced me to some of the most supportive and inspirational people I have ever met. I think the group is a vital way of involving young people with Type 1 in their care as well as giving them a voice.”

“I believe it is crucial that our work continues in order to support other young people and hopefully change their lives the way it has changed ours. Learn to fit your diabetes around your life and not your life around diabetes is my moto!”

Speaking of her work with these inspiring young people, Youth Development Worker at Diabetes UK, Dani Cochrane said:

“The Mighty DUKs live up to their name and really prove that even if you have diabetes you can still achieve great things. I am continually blown away by the commitment and passion this group of young people have, and their drive to help other young people in their community. Living with Type 1 diabetes has brought them together and collectively they have tackled the issues which affect them and other young people living with the condition in Scotland.

“They have managed to create a strong network for young people living with Type 1 diabetes from all over Scotland who otherwise would be isolated and may not be able to access the information and support they need to manage their condition and have a good quality of life.”

Another inspiring young person is Ellie McGinty, a 16 year old from Edinburgh who is aiming to be a future Commonwealth Games hopeful. The Edinburgh Athletic Club star who was short listed for The Pride of Edinburgh Sporting Achievement Award, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last year. Despite this the high school student represented Scotland twice last year in her age group and was selected to become part of a Scottish Athletics relay training programme.

And she is in good company as there have been some famous Commonwealth Games competitors with diabetes over the years, from Sir Steve Redgrave to Welsh athlete Melanie Stephenson.

Ellie believes having the condition should not put anyone off fulfilling their dreams:

“I have achieved so much more than what I thought I would so this should not hold you back – you should just go for it!”

Diabetes Week takes place from 8 – 14 June and Diabetes UK Scotland would like you to share your stories of courage and hope in the face of diabetes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #iCan and copying in @DiabetesScot.

The annual Scottish Diabetes Survey shows the number of cases of Type 1 diabetes continues to rise. The number of people with type 1 diabetes has increased from 26,294 in 2006 to 29,251 in 2014 – an increase of 11.3 per cent. 

The Scottish Diabetes Survey 2013, published this weekend, can be viewed here: www.diabetesinscotland.org.uk

Diabetes UK is the leading UK charity that cares for, connects with and campaigns on behalf of all people affected by and at risk of diabetes. For more information on all aspects of diabetes and access to Diabetes UK activities and services, visit www.diabetes.org.uk


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