Hi, my name is Lee
I live in Havant and work full time for Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation and I’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!
I’d like to think I’ve always been really pro-active with my diabetes self-management and that I’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 wasn’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 wasn’t going to beat me.
I also didn’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. That’s why I am passionate about supporting other people with diabetes, especially those that are newly diagnosed. I don’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, I’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 charity’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 haven’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 – 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 don’t lick the icing out of the bowl anymore!
Diabetes: Type 1
Year of Birth: 1969
Year of Diagnosis: 2002