Theresa May, former Prime Minister with type 1 diabetes

A former UK Prime Minister has agreed to publicly support a major type 1 diabetes charity.

Theresa May, who was diagnosed with the condition herself in 2013, has signed up to become an Ambassador for JDRF.

Her role will be to promote the organisation’s global research programme.

Mrs May said: “Type 1 diabetes is a serious condition that requires a carefully managed routine, whether you are a 12-year-old school child or a prime minister standing at the despatch box.”

“But since my own diagnosis, I have seen the progress that JDRF’s international research programme has made.”

As an Ambassador for the charity the politician will champion the pioneering research JDRF has been carrying out, including the Connect Immune Research initiative. This project brings together researchers who are experts in all autoimmune conditions so they can work together to find new treatments, faster.

Mrs May said: “Connect Immune Research is an example of the pioneering innovation that makes our UK scientific research community so globally renowned. It represents a different way of working across research disciplines, collaborating over shared goals. Innovative approaches like this will help the medical research sector adapt to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

“The UK’s medical research charities are vital to making the UK a world leader in science and research, investing £1.9 billion into medical research last year, and giving a voice to people with conditions such as type 1 diabetes.

Unusually Mrs May was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in later life, after initially being wrongly told she had type 2 diabetes.

Despite the diagnosis, she has not let the condition hold her back as she went onto secure the role as Home Secretary, before eventually becoming Prime Minister in 2016.

Mrs May said: “Living with diabetes doesn’t need to change what you can do. When I first discovered I had diabetes, I read a great quote from Steve Redgrave who went on to win his last Olympic gold medal after being diagnosed. He said, ‘diabetes must learn to live with me rather than me live with diabetes.’

“While we continue to hunt for new treatments and a cure, I think that’s a very important message to get across.”

Karen Addington, UK Chief Executive of JDRF, said: “We are delighted to welcome Theresa May as a JDRF Ambassador. Theresa has committed to championing our cause, bringing to life the seriousness of the condition, and raising the profile of type 1 diabetes and JDRF’s research.”

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