Prue Neale, Fund Rising for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Fundraising : Royal Arch Province of Buckinghamshire

I am very grateful to the Provincial Grand Charity Steward for the Royal Arch Province of Buckinghamshire for offering me the opportunity to raise funds for a charity of my choice.  I didn’t hesitate for a moment in suggesting JDRF – Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation –  a leading charity in research into the management, prevention  and even future diabetes cure of Type 1 diabetes in children and young people.

As a nurse working in General Practice I care for many people with diabetes but these are mostly people with Type 2 diabetes. You may have friends who have this condition. Type 1 diabetes is less common but mainly affects children and young people and can only be controlled with insulin injections.

My choice of this charity is personal rather than professional.  At the age of 3 our eldest son Jonathan was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. It was a great shock to us as we were unaware at the time of any familial links although later we found out about a family member on my husband’s side of the family and subsequently one of his cousins has developed the same condition.

Diabetes is a difficult condition to treat in a child. Daily injections are traumatic, managing a restrictive diet is complicated, activity levels are unpredictable and independence from adult supervision is rare.  Newer equipment such as blood glucose monitors, injection pens and insulin pumps have made some things easier but it is still a difficult and unpredictable existence.  Jonathan will have been diabetic for 40 years this November (2014) and will not have had a day off from managing the condition in that time and has also had to battle with some of its complications.

Current research is trying to understand what triggers the condition in people at known risk and looking at ways of preserving the functioning of insulin producing cells. Transplants have been tried but with limited success. Stem cell technology is being investigated.  We now have 3 grandchildren and each of them have had umbilical cord blood harvested when they were born which is a rich source of their own stem cells and which is now stored  in case it can help them in the future. It is the only insurance we can offer them.

The incidence of Type 1 diabetes in children is increasing. It is an inherited auto-immune condition and is not caused by poor diet or lifestyle. Banting and Best in Canada with the help of their dog Marjorie discovered insulin in 1921. This stopped children dying from the condition. In more recent times we have used modern technology to help with its management. Hopefully the future will see a way to prevention and cure.

Any support you can give will be most gratefully received

For further information see the website

With Thanks, Prue Neale ; September 2014.