As I’m a diabetic, I would like to help as many people that I can who are in a similar situation. Working as a researcher for Lord Roberts has put me in an ideal position to do this. When I first started, I was not quite sure where this was going to take me. I was asked to focus more on getting awareness out to school children, which I think is a great idea, after all, they are the future, and unless a there are new developments, these are the people who will have to live with this condition in the years to come.
I have ended up going down a path which was completely unexpected, which I feel privileged to be part of. The current refugee crisis is a massive problem, that needs many countries to work together to help. It is far too big for one or two countries to do alone. So I’m now part of a group who are trying to do what they can to help.
It is great to be part of a team that is so passionate about doing what they can to make the journeys of Refugees easier than they are at present. The Red Cross, Save the children, Calais Action and Help Refugees, are just a few of the organisations that I have been able to talk to. I have met some amazing people who are inspirational, and who work so hard for these organisations. I have two colleagues, Brad and Annie, who I really enjoy working with. As well as working hard with their studies, they do a great deal of work for this cause.
After meeting so many amazing people, I was wondering what I could do to help, when I started to think about the refugees with long term health issues. I don’t know why, but diabetes always comes first to mind. I can only imagine how hard and worrying it must be for those poor people. Having to control diabetes yourself can be daunting enough, but having a family member, especially a young child with the condition must be a constant worry, and more so if you’ve had to leave your home and take on a journey that you have no way of knowing where you are going to end up, or how you are going to get there. The first and the biggest worry must be – is there going to be somewhere with medical facilities that will have the supplies that are needed?
I’m so lucky to have a constant supply of insulin, blood testing strips and lancets. I have had to ration my blood testing strips on the odd occasion, but not for long, as I have the luxury of being able to pick up an emergency supply from my chemist. I am glad to say that I have never been in the position of having to ration my insulin, and I can only imagine how difficult that must be!
Your body needs a constant supply of insulin, even if you have nothing to eat. I have an insulin pump, which administers the highest amount of insulin from 4am, until late on in the afternoon. I become more sensitive to insulin later on at night. Trying to cope with this while conserving insulin, must be extremely hard.
There’s the task of having to make sure that there is always something to eat in case of a hypo (low sugar). I don’t know which I prefer having, a low or a high sugar. Obviously neither is good, and this probably sounds like a daft thing to say! As I always have something to bring me out of a hypo pretty quickly, I would have to say that I would rather suffer from a low sugar than a high. This is because a low sugar normally takes a lot less time to come around from. That would be a different matter if it was a nocturnal hypo.
I find that my glucose levels are elevated with stress. Trying to keep their levels down under such horrendous conditions, over the treacherous journey they are making, must be nearly impossible. Again, watching a family member suffering with these symptoms, which are bound to happen more often, must be unbearable, especially while still trying to keep the family together. Having this incredible pressure hanging over you, must at some point lead to considerable personal mental stress
After reading the plight of some of these displaced people, I have realised that if I can do anything to help these refugees get hold of much needed medical supplies, then that is what I’m going to do. I suppose that’s the easy part, deciding that you’re going to do something. The hard part is working out what, and how you can go about doing that!