With thousands of people across the Portsmouth area living with diabetes, one charity is dedicated to finding a cure for the people it supports.
The Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation, based on Hayling Island, works to support people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
We want to ensure that people with diabetes are staying well until a cure is found.Claire Levy
The organisation, which works across the country, raises thousands of pounds to fund research and its aim is to one day find a cure for the condition.
Currently, people diagnosed with diabetes will have the illness for life with some having to take daily injections to balance their insulin levels.
Diabetes occurs when the body fails to convert sugars and starches from food into energy.
Special cells in the pancreas should produce insulin which then transports glucose, made from carbohydrates in the food, into the cells, where it can be used by the body for energy.
But people with diabetes struggle to produce insulin, or when they do, it does not work properly.
But thanks to the hard work and dedication of the people at the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation, a cure will hopefully be found.
Claire Levy, community fundraiser at the charity, says: ‘We hold a number of wellness events for people with diabetes to give out information but also raise money.
‘We want to help people with diabetes manage their condition and avoid long-term complications.’
The charity, at Northney Marina, has been established since 1998 and is keen to educate people on the types of diabetes, what causes it and how it affects people living with the condition.
But it is also about research.
Claire adds: ‘The charity funds diabetes research in many institutions across the UK in search of new treatments and ultimately a cure.
‘We want to ensure that people with diabetes are staying well until a cure is found.
‘To do that, we are funding vital diabetes research to establish the causes and developing improved management and treatment options.’
To help raise cash the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation produces a monthly newsletter for members.
It lists the latest research being conducted, clinical trials and case studies of people with diabetes and any fundraising they have done for the charity.
The newsletter gives a range of tips on dealing with the condition and how different people live their day to day lives with diabetes.
The charity produces leaflets which have information on a number of topics surrounding diabetes. They include:
n What is diabetes?
n Managing diabetes when you are ill.
n How diabetes can affect feet.
n Diabetes in men and diabetes in women.
n How diabetes affects eyes.
The leaflets are written by experts on the subjects and are handed out for free at events organised by the charity.
The group has a recipe book for people with diabetes which lists a number of nutritious meals to help with blood sugar levels and promote a health diet.
Every year, the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundations holds its Wellness Day South, which will be held at the Solent Hotel in Whiteley, next July.
Working with the specialist diabetes teams across Wessex the day offers interactive talks by diabetes specialists and a large exhibition with diagnostic companies and dieticians.
It also has other healthcare professionals on-hand to discuss diabetes self-management.
The organisation supports World Diabetes Day, which was yesterday.
A number of organisations in the area supported the event including the John Pounds Centre, off Queen Street in Portsmouth.
Specialist diabetes nurses refer patients to the centre where they can take part in a 10-week scheme to improve their health and fitness by following a structured exercise and diet programme.
There is also a free six-week nutrition course as well as the Living Life to the Full sessions, which run every day.
Yesterday, people at the centre wore Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation T-shirts and had banners at reception.
They had nine free leaflets available by the charity and did a times static bike challenge.
Paul Hutchings is project manager at the John Pounds Centre.
He says: ‘It’s great to not only raise awareness of the issues facing those living with diabetes, but offer support in the form of the centre’s Healthy Living Scheme.
‘Funded by the Big Lottery, the referral programme offers a combination of supported gym and exercise classes alongside nutritional training, directly focussed on those wanting to reduce the effects of diabetes on their everyday lives.’
This year World Diabetes Day is focussing on the eyes and potential sight loss which can be caused by the condition.
The International Diabetes Federation is trying to get across two key messages.
They include the importance of screening for Type 2 diabetes to reduce the risk of complications and screening for diabetes complications to help manage the condition.
For more information visit drwf.org.uk.