Man recognised for managing type 1 diabetes for 70 years

Jack Woodfield
Fri, 26 Jan 2018
Man recognised for managing type 1 diabetes for 70 years
A man who was told he only had days to live as a child has been recognised for living with type 1 diabetes for 70 years.

Donald Hunt from the Isle of Wight has received the John Macleod award from Diabetes UK., which is presented to people for living with the condition for seven decades.

Mr Hunt, 75, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1947 aged four, just a year before the NHS was launched.

Speaking to the Isle of Wight County Press newspaper, he said: "It was by sheer luck I was diagnosed on a family trip to Canvey Island when a local doctor thankfully recognised my symptoms: feeling thirsty, losing weight and immediately sent me to hospital for further tests.

"That family trip saved my life. The hospital doctors told my parents, without the proper diagnosis, I would have had just ten days to live."

He has successfully managed his condition for 70 years through eating a healthy diet, exercising, and keeping on top of his blood sugar levels.

Having had type 1 diabetes for so long has also meant he has seen a lot of progression in the world of treatment for the condition.

He said: "So much has changed for the better in terms of treatment. In those days, it was the daily drawn out process of sterilising needles and glass syringes by boiling them.

"Luckily, my mum was a nurse so she showed me how to take my insulin injections from a very early age, and conquer my fear of syringes. I was one of the first people on the island to get access to disposable syringes and then, later in life, one of the first of the older generation to get a pump."

He now uses an insulin pump and says he has a "lot to be thankful for", including the support from his doctor, Arun Baksi and his wife Sybil of 54 years.
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