Well I’ve been a member of Diabetes UK for (most of) the last 52 years and I’ve finally got featured in Balance, which feels really weird, but also very satisfying as I’ve written numerous letter which haven’t ever been published!
I’ve read this magazine for decades and seen it go through many changes – so wish I’d kept my old copies now. I’m told you can see them in the British Library. I may pay a visit there one day to reminisce! For around 40 years, the majority of my diabetes education came from Balance. There was no ‘structured education’ then and although I learned a little at clinic appointments (normally just one per year), Balance was my only contact with diabetes, as I never met others with the condition. And I never fancied attending groups!
I recall a slim A5 booklet when I was a teenager, these in the top right are how it looked then. So funny to see I’m sharing the front cover honour with John Prescott LOL – and note, there are comparatively few males in these old copies…!
So the reason for my inclusion in Balance was the result of a strong desire to attend the Diabetes UK annual Professionals’ Conference. I was lucky to ‘win’ a blogger’s place, and worked really hard attempting to Tweet non-stop and post on Facebook and Instagram about the presentations. And each day I tried to write up a few things afterwards. Sharing information is almost part of my DNA after years working in Government, often on policy communications, so although it comes easily it was still challenging.
If you’re tempted to enter future competitions, don’t be fooled into thinking it will be easy! The amount of scientific information, the number of presentations (normally 3 or 4 going on at once), the number of people to talk to, the number of Abstracts to read and the tech stalls to investigate are quite overwhelming.
And then there’s the social aspect – we managed to meet various other people with diabetes who weren’t at the conference each evening. It was such great fun to put faces to names I’d met on social media, but also made for VERY long days!
As I said in the piece for Balance, I was really shocked to find how moved I was by being with thousands of clinicians who devote their entire lives to helping people with diabetes. I was moved to tears on several occasions. I felt very humbled by meeting so many of these dedicated, caring people. WOW. So very grateful.
So here’s the article: short, sweet and speaks for itself.