Today I’m writing about something that I hope to achieve in a few years.
Here in Australia – the Magical Land of Oz – the central organisation focussed on all things diabetes, Diabetes Australia, annually awards symbolic recognition for those who have lived for 50 plus years with diabetes. This recognition applies to both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
As I was diagnosed in 1974, at the age of 17, that means I reach my 50 year mark in the second half of 2024. Humorously, I don’t even remember which month it was, but piecing together anecdotal details such as school requirements at the time, the weather etc, I believe it was August of 1974. However, as one of the requirements before being officially recognised as having reached the 50 year mark is to get proof of the diagnosis, I will learn the exact date as the time gets closer.
Now you might be wondering why on earth there would be any sort of recognition for surviving 50 years with diabetes. The idea was first raised by Dr Alan Stocks in recognition of Mr Claude Kellion who made great contributions to the cause of diabetes here in Australia after his son died from complications in 1972. He wanted to encourage further research, knowledge and understanding of diabetes.
And when you consider that every person living with T1D can be in a coma and die within hours if they don’t take the correct actions, and this is 24 hours a day for every day of their life, to live for 50 years, that is 18,250 days of 24 hour care, is something of note.
On the other side of that coin though – I was having coffee the other morning with a friend from work and we were talking about her recent bout with cancer, which is now in remission. During the conversation she made reference to me being a “hero” for what I need to do every day to stay alive, to which I scoffed. I’m not a hero. I might be a survivor, but I’m not a hero.
A hero is someone like the cave divers who recently rescued those boys from the flooded cave in Thailand. Or Winston Churchill, who battled his own demons to be able to lead England and the free world to victory over Nazi Germany. They were true heroes.
In my opinion, someone like me is a survivor, not a hero.
You can read more about the Kellion Medal here.
That is today as I have seen it.