Hi, my name is Lee
I live in Havant and work full time for Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation and Iâ€™ve had Type 1 Diabetes for 15 years. I am on the basal bolus regimen and use MDI. I have never been on a pump, but never-say-never!
Iâ€™d like to think Iâ€™ve always been really pro-active with my diabetes self-management and that Iâ€™ve taken ownership of it from the beginning. The onset of my diabetes was rapid. I went from being a healthy young man to laying in a hospital bed in less than two weeks or realizing something was wrong. It was an incredibly scary experience. At the time I felt very isolated, and completely unsure what the future held for me.
There wasnâ€™t as much diabetes information available at that time as there is now, so it was difficult to know where to start, but I did and researched and investigated every bit of diabetes information I could get my hands on. This thing wasnâ€™t going to beat me.
I also didnâ€™t know anyone else with Type 1 Diabetes. In fact it was a couple of years before I actually met another person with diabetes that I could relate to. It was like meeting a long, lost relative. Thatâ€™s why I am passionate about supporting other people with diabetes, especially those that are newly diagnosed. I donâ€™t want anyone else to feel as alone or scared as I did. I feel a great sense of responsibility to help support people, share my own experiences with them and point them in the right direction. I think people who are just starting to cope with diabetes can learn an awful lot from other people already living with the condition 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I know I did. I wish I had something like Sugar Buddies 15 years ago.
Like a lot of people with Type 1 Diabetes, Iâ€™ve completed numerous structured courses such as DAFNE and JIGSAW. I also did the Open University – Diabetes Care course, which taught me a lot.
In 2006 I joined DRWF as the educational event coordinator. Based at our headquarters on Hayling Island, I am responsible for the charityâ€™s national programme of Diabetes Wellness Days, which provide people living with diabetes with the essential tools, skills and knowledge they need to better manage their condition. DRWF is a great place for me to be too. I get a front-seat-view of all the latest steps forward and innovations in the world of diabetes. I get to see first-hand, what research is being done and what new medications; treatments and products are being introduced to help people with diabetes. I have access to a vast number of dedicated scientists and healthcare professionals, which means I have a wealth of knowledge, information and support at my fingertips. I hope this is something I can share and pass on to all my friends and colleagues with diabetes.
I havenâ€™t always worked in the charity sector though. I actually began my career as a professional chef. I trained in advanced classical cookery at Highbury College in Portsmouth for three years before undertaking further training to specialise in pasty and sugar craft â€“ ironically!
Even though I no longer work as a pastry chef, I still like to keep my hand in and make the occasional wedding or celebration cake for friends and family. I just donâ€™t lick the icing out of the bowl anymore!
Diabetes: Type 1
Year of Birth: 1969
Year of Diagnosis: 2002