TWO Tameside Hospital patients who have each lived with Type 1 diabetes for more than 50 years have been awarded a medal by Diabetes UK for their achievement.
Kenneth Spooner, 78, of Glossop, and Jennifer Bates, 65, of Hyde, were presented with the Alan Nabarro Medal on World Diabetes Day (November 14) by Dr Edward Jude, Tameside Hospital’s Consultant in Diabetes, Endocrine and General Medicine.
Both Kenneth and Jennifer, who have Type 1 Diabetes, are being treated using insulin pump therapy, or continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII), which continually infuses insulin into the subcutaneous tissue just beneath the skin. They are the first Tameside Hospital patients being treated this way to receive an Alan Nabarro Medal.
Dr Jude said: “This is an auspicious day. I am so proud to present Kenneth and Jennifer with their medals because they have done so well with their diabetes.
“They have demonstrated that excellent long term outcomes can be achieved when patients and clinicians work closely together.
Kenneth was first diagnosed with diabetes when he was 24 years old.
The retired engineer said: “The symptoms went on for a while before I got mithered into going to the doctor. In one week I lost 7lbs and I was drinking all day and through the night.”
He added: “I want to be able to forget I have diabetes as much as I possibly can. Now I’m getting good treatment at Tameside Hospital and they have improved things.”
Jennifer dedicated the medal to her husband Ronald.
She said: “It’s my husband that deserves the medal so I’m going to give it to him. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him. He’s looked after me for 48 years and he just looks at me and knows if I’m going hypo.”
Jennifer was diagnosed at just 15 also after suffering dramatic weight loss and constant thirst.
“My mother took me to the doctor who said after testing me for diabetes that if I’d been any sweeter the bees would have been after me,” she said.
She said the hardest thing at first was not being able to eat cakes, sweets and chocolate but since her diagnosis she cooks everything from scratch so she knows exactly what’s in it.
Her advice to any young person newly diagnosed with diabetes is: “Just sit down, think about it and learn as much as you can. Take in all the information and advice because in the long run it works.”
She added: “They are a marvellous team at Tameside Hospital. When I think how I started and how my treatment has progressed – it’s marvellous. They have given me a new lease of life.”
Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “This medal has been presented to both in recognition of their valiant fight against diabetes over 50 years. I do hope they enjoy them and continue to lead a full life.”