Diabetes patients mark over two centuries with the condition

(L to R) Colin Chatt, Karen Clark, William Baker and Beryl Barker receiving their Alan Nabarro medals at Aintree University Hospital.

FOUR patients at Aintree University Hospital were awarded Alan Nabarro medals after collectively living with Type 1 Diabetes for more than 200 years.

The medal is given to people who have managed the condition for 50 years and is presented by the charity Diabetes UK. It is named after Alan Nabarro, who waged a life-long battle against discrimination of people with diabetes. Following his diagnosis in 1922 he was given just six months to live, but due to the discovery of insulin went on to live for a further 55 years.

Beryl Barker, 64, from Stoneycroft, Colin Chatt, 62, from Bootle, Karen Clark, 57, from Netherton, and William Baker, 72, from Fazakerly, all have Type 1 diabetes.

Beryl, who was diagnosed in 1965, said: “I lost a lot of weight before I was told I had diabetes. I remember going to school as a young girl and having my teacher sneak me sandwiches, as she was worried my parents were not feeding me properly. It’s safe to say my parents were shocked when my teacher raised her concerns. Soon after I was taken to the doctors and diagnosed with the condition.”

Colin was diagnosed in 1961 and explained the difficulty of having the condition as a child. He said: “Being young and not being allowed to go on school trips with your friends was hard. As a child you want nothing more than to run around and experience new adventures. One time I had managed to win a competition to appear on television but was later told by the company hosting the show that my health was too big of a concern for them to allow me on camera. The lack of understanding around diabetes back then was dreadful.”

Maureen Wallymahmed, Nurse Consultant for Diabetes at Aintree University Hospital, said: “All four of our medalists are proof that, with the right treatment, you can live a full and active life with diabetes. They are an inspiration to anyone struggling to overcome the impact of a diabetes diagnosis. The perception of diabetes has changed dramatically from when our medalists were first diagnosed and I would like to congratulate them all on what they have achieved.”

All four patients were presented with their medals by Dr Dan Cuthbertson, at a celebratory lunch held in Aintree’s Diabetes Centre, which was attended by their family and friends. The Alan Nabarro medal has been awarded 473 times this year in the UK.