Diabetes patient from Horndean becomes face of new NHS flu jab campaign

Mark Hancock
Mark Hancock

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A MAN who lost an astonishing amount of weight despite having diabetes has been made the face of a national campaign.

Mark Hancock was chosen by NHS England to be one of the faces in its annual Stay Well This Winter initiative.

The 45-year-old lost 22lb by taking part in medical broadcaster Michael Mosley’s eight-week blood sugar diet earlier this year.

He said: ‘I’m surprised to have been picked for the campaign, it came out of the blue and I feel honoured that they would like to use me in that way.

‘There can be very serious complications for people who are diabetic and if they get the flu, their situation can get a lot worse.

‘It’s important to get that message across.’

When he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2010, financial adviser Mark weighed 16st. But after cutting carbs out of his diet, he now weighs a healthy 12st 5lb – something he admits to have celebrated with a well-earned glass of wine.

After reading Mark’s story in The News last month, NHS England South was impressed by Mark’s ambition to help others with his condition, and approached him to be part of the campaign.

Mark, from Horndean, said: ‘The key message that I’m trying to get out there is that people can actually do something to reverse the diabetes, much like I’ve tried to do with the eight-week plan.’

‘If we can get another person through the door to get the injection then that’s fantastic. Hopefully my face won’t put them off!’

Camera crews will document Mark’s daily life as he continues to tackle diabetes through his diet and exercise.

They will film him as he heads to his GP for a free flu vaccination. The film will then be released on Monday, tying in with World Diabetes Day.

NHS England communications chief, Tim Wiseman, said: ‘Those with diabetes, and other long-term conditions such as heart, liver or lung illnesses, are all much more vulnerable to the serious risk posed by flu and a vaccination can help keep them safe.

‘Mark continues to make a major contribution by helping educate others with diabetes on keeping healthy.

‘We’re looking forward to this latest video and campaign launching on World Diabetes Day and urge anyone with the condition, or those with family or friends who do, to watch and share.

‘Getting the flu jab is an important part of staying well this winter.’