AT the age of 83, Maureen Croxon never thought she would be winning gold medals.
But the pensioner is smiling from ear to ear after winning the top prize for being a survivor in life.
The retired typist has been awarded the gold medal for living with Type 1 diabetes – an autoimmune condition, rather than one caused by her lifestyle – for 70 years.
It is an amazing accomplishment because she was on the verge of death as a 13-year-old girl when doctors initially struggled to work out what was wrong with her.
‘I think somebody is looking out for me,’ said Maureen, of Penk Ridge, Bedhampton.
Maureen’s diabetes – which means her body cannot control blood sugar levels – means she has had to have a daily injection of insulin for the past seven decades.
Every day she has to have exact portions of the right kinds of food and has to constantly monitor her blood sugars.
The gold medal was awarded by Diabetes UK after Maureen’s son, Michael Croxon, wrote to the charity, prompted by Maureen’s diabetes nurse, Julie Barnes. The pensioner now has the full set – a bronze medal for 50 years and a silver medal for 60 years.
They have pride of place in her living room.
Maureen said she felt proud as she unwrapped the gold medal when it arrived in the post.
‘I thought it was rather nice,’ said the grandmother of four.
‘It’s an achievement because I did not think I would get it.’
Four years ago Maureen lost sight in her right eye as a result of the diabetes.
Maureen said medicine had come a long way since she was diagnosed in 1946.
She said: ‘The was a locum doctor and he said my mother was making a fuss because I was a growing child and needed glucose. So my mother was feeding me glucose.
‘My grandfather came round and saw I was in bed. He said “We have got to get her to the doctors straight away”.
‘Apparently, if I had been left another couple of hours, I wouldn’t have stood a chance.
‘And here I am 70 years on.’