Theresa May and 5 other inspirational people with diabetes who have defied the condition

It was announced on Monday that Theresa May is in line to become the next British Prime Minister, and also the first ever world leader with type 1 diabetes.

Following the decision of Andrea Leasom to quit the Conversative leadership race, it is now a matter of “when” and not “if” Mrs. May is appointed as Prime Minister.

The fact Mrs May has type 1 diabetes will be irrelevant to many. ‘It’s her politics that matter,’ they will say. But this article is not about Mrs May’s politics.

The appointment of a British Prime Minister who just happens to have type 1 diabetes will likely provide inspiration for people with diabetes who feel limited by the condition.

People with diabetes can often feel like the condition stops them in their tracks. This could be due to problems with blood sugar levels, or other health issues. It’s a perfectly normal and common feeling.

That’s why the rise of Mrs May is so inspiring, regardless of your political views or allegiance. She is showing a generation of people with diabetes that it doesn’t have to hold you back from living your dreams.

To that end, we have a compiled a short list of some other rousing examples of people with diabetes who have defied their condition to achieve their goals.

Sir Steve Redgrave

World famous rower Sir Steve Redgrave had already won four Olympic gold medals by the time he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1997 at the age of 35.

At that time he was in training for the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, so he adapted his training routine accordingly and, equipped with a stash of sugar, went on to win his fifth and final Olympic gold medal.

Nick Jonas

Having been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 13, Nick Jonas could have thought his dreams of becoming a musician were over. Instead, alongside his siblings, the Jonas Brothers went on to become a Disney Channel mainstay, releasing four albums and starring in three films.

Now a solo artist, Jonas has remained committed to campaigning for greater diabetes awareness. He testified in the U.S. Senate in 2010 to promote more research funding for the condition and set up the Jonas Brothers Change for the Children Foundation to help children with diabetes.

Gary Mabbutt

Gary Mabbutt was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes by the Bristol Rovers club doctor when he was 17. Little did he know then that he would go on to become one of the most influential sportspeople of his generation.

Mabbutt lifted the FA Cup and UEFA Cup with Tottenham Hotspur and won 16 caps playing for England. He also went on the children’s television show Blue Peter and injected an orange with insulin to show viewers what type 1 diabetes management was like.

Team Novo Nordisk

Sure, they’re a whole team, but Team Novo Nordisk’s cycling team is the first to consist entirely of athletes with type 1 diabetes, including Stephen Clancy and Joe Eldridge, the co-founder of the team.

Their influence within the diabetes community is continually growing, inspiring a generation of young cyclists with diabetes, and they have since gone on to field Team Type 2, which is made up exclusively of athletes with type 2 diabetes.

Bret Michaels

Despite undergoing hard times in recent years – he suffered a brain haemorrhage in 2010 – it’s easy to forget just how influential Bret Michaels is.

He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged six and went on to sell over 45 million records worldwide as the lead singer of rock band Poison.  He has also continued to hold his head high and remain classy: he pledged his $250,000 award from winning The Celebrity Apprentice in 2010 to the American Diabetes Association.

Picture credits: independent.co.uk, bbc.co.uk, mirror.co.uk, novonordisk.com

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About the author

Jack Woodfield

Jack is Deputy Editor of Diabetes.co.uk and the award-winning Low Carb Program. He works hard, plays fair and sleeps whenever possible. He also has type 1 diabetes, doesn't mind being called a "diabetic", and once won a talent show for dancing to Dario G’s 1997 hit “Sunchyme”.

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