“What a great inspiration all the speakers were today. Showing us life with Type 1 diabetes doesn’t have to stop. Definitely inspired me to do more exercise and stop worrying about hypos!” This was the message posted on Twitter from one delegate who attended the recent Medway NHS Foundation Trust Type 1 Diabetes and Exercise Conference.
With support from the Paula Carr Diabetes Trust, the conference was organised by diabetes specialist nurse Amanda Epps who gathered together a superb panel of speakers to talk about their experience of combining a serious sport habit with Type 1 (T1) diabetes.
First up was Brian Hoadley who shared his top tips for marathon running. Then Charlotte Austin talked about what it was really like to wrestle with T1 diabetes and why she wants to encourage more women to get into sport.
Next up was Chris Bright who talked about growing up with T1 diabetes and how he coped with playing football as a child on mixed insulin. He is now involved in developing a football team who are due to play in Slovakia this summer in an all-T1 league. His key message was: “There is no right or wrong way of managing the condition around exercise… Find out what works for you and continue to learn and try new strategies which support your growth!”
Pete Davies, who has lived with T1 diabetes for 62 years talked about his world record trek of Kilimanjaro with a T1 team. Then Paul Coker, founder of the 1 Bloody Drop website, which helps people to exercise safely with T1 diabetes, told the conference how the week before he had organised a world record breaking event where 69 people with T1 diabetes completed the Swansea half marathon.
The hugely successful day was concluded with a panel session when the speakers were joined by consultant Dr Victor Oguntolu and dietician Helena Phipps to answer questions from the audience.
Gary Fagg, Chairman of the Paula Carr Diabetes Trust, who attended the conference, said: “I would like to publicly thank Amanda Epps for having the enthusiasm to put on such an amazing information day for patients with Type 1 diabetes. The speakers really enthused the large audience with their insights of living life to the full in spite of having diabetes.”