11th October 2011
Award for living a healthy and active life with diabetes for over 50 years
Mr. Howard Fair, who has type 1 diabetes, has received the Alan Nabarro Medal from Diabetes UK, the largest UK organisation working for the wellbeing of people with diabetes and funding related research.
This marks a significant milestone in Mr. Fair’s journey of living a healthy and active life with diabetes for over 50 years, with support from relatives and friends as well as healthcare professionals here on the Island.
The medal is named after Dr. Nabarro, who himself was diagnosed with diabetes in 1922 and who was then given 6 months to live. However, Dr. Nabarro managed his condition for a lot longer than those six months – in fact for 55 years, following the discovery of insulin.
The award was presented to Mr. Fair by Dr. Al-Mrayat & Dr. Lawrence, Consultant Diabetologists, and Liz Whittingstall, Lead Diabetes Specialist Nurse, at the Arun Baksi Centre for Diabetes & Endocrinology, based at St. Mary’s Hospital, Isle of Wight. The Centre provides specialist diabetes & endocrine* care and advice for the Island’s people. It provides many services for people with diabetes including:
• ongoing care for individuals with type 1 and 2 diabetes
• managing diabetes related complications such as foot ulcers and kidney disease
• caring for pregnant women & adolescents with diabetes in conjunctions with other departments
• providing education for people with diabetes to better self-manage their condition,
• supporting local diabetes services at GP practice level
• training of healthcare professionals across the island, and
• supervising technical insulin delivery, insulin pumps, as well as introducing new licensed diabetes therapies into mainstream use.
The centre is also closely affiliated with the local diabetes research unit, Vectasearch, run by Dr. Baksi, founder of the centre. Over the years the Island has ranked highly both regionally and nationally in the standard of its diabetes care for Islanders.
Mr Howard Fair stated ‘Here on the Island we are very fortunate to have two excellent consultants in Dr. Al-Mrayat and Dr Lawrence. They have extremely good technical skills and provide relevant treatments for patients suited to our life styles. All diabetics have to accept some restrictions but with modern equipment a ‘normal’ life style is entirely possible as is a long life’.
Victor Lawrence, Consultant Physician in Endocrinology and Diabetes Mellitus stated ‘We are thrilled to be able to recognise and celebrate Mr Fair's 50 years of type 1 diabetes, a huge achievement on his part. When he started out with the condition in the early 1960s, there was little flexibility or choice in the way insulin was given and the only way to test whether his blood glucose levels were controlled would have been to test his urine which only becomes positive if the levels are, by current standards, too high. With developments in treatment and in partnership with staff at the Diabetes Centre at St Mary's over the years, he has been able to take full control over his life which he has lived, and continues to live, very much to the full despite the challenges associated with this condition. Advances in treatment in conjunction with an emphasis on placing the empowered patient right at the centre of managing their own condition are expected to make healthy survival to 50 years and well beyond the norm rather than the exception’.