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Type 1 technology- new guide for families

A NEW family-friendly guide to type 1 diabetes technology is available from today.

From different types of insulin pumps, to flash glucose monitoring and continuous glucose monitoring; the technology options available to help people manage their type 1 diabetes day-to-day can certainly be confusing at times. This is especially true for those coping with a recent diagnosis. 

Entitled “Type 1 Technology:  A guide for young people and families”, the guide aims to help families when they are talking to healthcare professionals about the technology on offer to them.

The guide has been jointly produced by JDRF, Diabetes UK and INPUT Patient Advocacy, with input from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). It highlights new recommendations from NICE on treatments and technology for children and young people with type 1 diabetes. It also gives an update on some technologies that NICE hasn’t made recommendations on. 

The recommendations from NICE include aiming for tighter blood glucose control to improve the management of type 1 diabetes amongst children and young people. The recommendations should also improve access to continuous glucose monitors (CGM) and insulin pumps.

A National Diabetes Audit from 2013-14 found that 26,500 children and young people live with type 1 diabetes in the UK, with the number of people in total living with types 1 and 2 diabetes all together standing at more than three million.

Sarah Johnson, Director of Policy and Communications at JDRF, said:

“We know from our supporters that it can be confusing at times when seeing what technology is out there for people who live with type 1 diabetes, especially for children and young people. This new family-friendly guide will make life easier for young people who live with type 1 diabetes or their family in assessing what options are there to help them manage their condition.”

To read Type 1 Technology click here.



Youngster who lives with type 1 diabetes meets his heroes at British Judo World Championships Team Launch

Last week on Monday 10th August young judoka Ethan Evans from Haltwhistle Judo Club in Northumberland, won the opportunity to meet the British Judo World Championships team after his mum, Joy, tweeted a message of support for the team on his behalf. The tweet, which spoke about Ethan’s type 1 diabetes, highlighted how the team were an inspiration to him. 

For the first time the British Judo World Championships team, who are competing in Astana, Kazakhstan 24-29 August, was announced through live video. It featured competition winner Ethan as the team’s ‘face of judo’.

Speaking on the day Ethan said: “I started judo last year at Haltwhistle Judo Club and Haydenbridge Judo Club in the summer. When I found out about winning the competition I was really excited but I think my mum was a bit more excited because it’s the first thing we’ve really won! Ashley McKenzie is one of my favourite players and I got to meet him today.

“Judo is all about having fun and I like to enter competitions. In the future I would love to come and train here [at the British Judo Centre of Excellence].”

Ethan also had the chance to fight World Championships team member Colin Oates and he put the London 2012 Olympian and 2014 Commonwealth Games champion through his paces.

Ethan’s mother Joy spoke to British Judo about the positive effect doing judo has had on Ethan and the management of his type 1 diabetes including helping to regulate his blood sugar levels pre and post training.

Joy said: “For the first couple of months that Ethan went along to judo we had to monitor his blood sugar levels very closely throughout his hour of training and in the hours that followed.

“After the first couple of shaky months we, Ethan, myself and his coaches, adjusted things like his insulin levels, blood sugar tests and pre-training meals so that Ethan's blood sugar levels stay as stable as possible regardless of how hard he trains. 

“Also, because Ethan understands that if his blood sugar levels aren't well enough controlled he will miss training, it gives him added incentive to look after himself so that he doesn't miss out.”

She also paid tribute to the support provided by Ethan’s coaches Michael Bolton and Carol Drummond who she says have never viewed his diabetes as a hindrance and have helped build Ethan’s confidence.

If you’d like to find out more about judo or like to try it yourself visit ‘Throw Yourself Into Judo’ for a beginner’s guide and how you can find your nearest club!

 Want to do a sporty challenge for JDRF? See here!


Teenager kicked out of driving theory test for having blood glucose meter: JDRF reaction

A 17-year old from Flintshire, north Wales who was disqualified from a driving theory exam for bringing in with her a blood glucose meter has been offered a free retake and given an apology from the DVSA. 

Lowri Jones, who lives with type 1 diabetes, was disqualified after the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) officials in Chester deemed her blood glucose meter, similar to the library image to the right, to be an “inappropriate” item. Lowri was distraught and told the Daily Mirror:

“It was really humiliating and people were probably thinking I was cheating when I wasn’t. It was so embarrassing and it’s not my fault I need my blood reader. I went up to my mum in tears afterwards, I was so embarrassed.”

DVSA officials later contacted Lowri to apologise and arranged for her to reschedule for a free test. 

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF, said: “People living with type 1 diabetes should never face discrimination of any kind. Life with the condition can be challenging enough already. I’m glad to see the authorities have apologised to Lowri and offered her a free test. We wish her good luck.” 

She added: “I would ask others in the type 1 diabetes community to share their experiences of discrimination and obstruction."


Psoriasis drug could protect insulin-producing cells in type 1 diabetes

JDRF researchers in the US have found that alefacept, a psoriasis drug that targets the immune system, could help keep insulin-producing cells safe in people with type 1 diabetes.

The results come from a two-year clinical trial of the drug in people who were newly diagnosed with type 1. The same team previously reported encouraging results in 2013 but now, 15 months after the last dose of alefacept, people who were given the drug needed to take less insulin day-to-day, and had higher levels of a protein called C-peptide – a by-product of insulin production – in their blood, than people given a placebo.

This suggests they were making more of their own insulin than people who did not take alefacept, despite both groups having had type 1 for more than two years.

When the researchers compared the levels of immune cells between the two groups, people who had taken alefacept had higher levels of cells that regulate the immune system, and lower levels of cells that are known to attack the pancreas in type 1.

Taken together, it appears the drug helped keep insulin-producing cells healthy by altering the immune system, reducing its ability to attack.

Dr Gerald Nepom, director of the Immune Tolerance Network, which conducted the trial, is cautiously optimistic about the next stage of the research: ‘Achieving long-term benefit following a short course of therapy is a challenging goal.’

‘Detailed analysis of the immune cell types in the blood of those who responded to the treatment will help us identify the best way to improve this type of immune therapy for people with type 1 diabetes and potentially other autoimmune conditions.’

Conor McKeever, Research Communication Officer at JDRF in the UK, commented: ‘It’s always exciting to see research using an existing drug because if it works, the path to getting the drug to people with type 1 should be clearer and quicker. We’ll be watching with interest to see what results come out of the next stage of the study.’

The results were published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.


Professional footballer Scott Allan receives vile abuse over his type 1 diabetes

Scott Allan, 23, a midfielder for Edinburgh club Hibernian has received venomous abuse on Twitter after handing in a transfer request – with some abusive messages featuring offensive references to his type 1 diabetes.  

Allan recently handed in a formal transfer request amid reported interest from Glasgow giants Rangers and consequently faced a barrage of abuse on social media. According to the Daily Record the midfielder was targeted on Twitter with messages abusing him and his family and threatening his life. The player has lived with type 1 diabetes since the age of three.

There were also at least two tweets referring to Allan’s condition. The Daily Record featured on their website screenshots of tweets which have since been deleted and many of the accounts shut down. One vile tweet said:  “I hope Scott Allan's diabetes gets worse" while another appalling message included the phrase “diabetic ****”. Some offensive comments were also of a sectarian nature and Police Scotland have opened an investigation.

However the vast majority of messages to Scott Allan referring to how he lives with type 1 were overwhelmingly positive, with one user conveying respect for Allan successfully balancing professional sport with the condition.

The young midfielder also received an abundance of support from fellow professionals. Hibernian teammate Jason Cummings wrote on Twitter: “Some people have got too much to say for themselves #KeyboardGangsters.”

Fellow Hibernian midfielder Jordon Forster tweeted: “I can understand frustration but some of this is just disgusting!”


Allan’s club praised him and highlighted its own efforts to also support others affected by diabetes. 

Speaking to JDRF, a Hibernian FC spokesperson said:

““The Club and the overwhelming majority of supporters were very quick to condemn the mindless postings of some individuals on social media.  The Club has been very supportive of Scott in terms of assisting him in managing his diabetes so successfully, and we have worked with Scott and NHS Lothian to encourage children and young people with diabetes to ensure they work hard with their parents and health professionals to look after themselves properly.

"At a recent event, more than 350 children and young people with diabetes and family members attended an event at Easter Road, run with NHS Lothian and with clinicians involved, which was enormously successful.

“As a successful professional sportsman, Scott has used his position to encourage others with diabetes and deserves thanks for his efforts.”



War Horse star and JDRF supporter Jeremy Irvine to star alongside Michael Douglas

JDRF supporter and Hollywood icon Jeremy Irvine, breakthrough star of the 2012 blockbuster War Horse will grace the big screen again at the end of this month.

The Cambridgeshire-born actor will star alongside movie legend Michael Douglas in Beyond the Reach based on Robb White’s 1972 novel Deathwatch.


In Beyond the Reach Jeremy plays a rookie tour guide who is hired by businessman and game hunter John Madec (Michael Douglas) and becomes embroiled in a dangerous adventure across the reaches of the Mojave Desert.

2015 is proving to be another defining year for Jeremy. In the autumn he will appear in an eagerly-anticipated film about the 1969 Stonewall Riots. Stonewall, directed by Roland Emmerich, the pioneering filmmaker behind Independence Day and 10,000 BC, also stars Irish heartthrob Jonathan Rhys-Myers and Hellboy star Ron Perlman.

 Jeremy, who has lived type 1 diabetes since the age of six, will play the lead role of Danny, a gay young man who is inspired to demonstrate against the pervasive homophobia of the time in 1960s New York City.

The young star is also a passionate supporter of the work JDRF is doing in funding medical research and has personally taken part in JDRF-backed trials of the artificial pancreas as well as appearing on Sky News to discuss his experiences of the condition and why he supports JDRF.

Beyond the Reach is released in the UK on Friday 31st July 2015.

Stonewall meanwhile is in British cinemas in September.


Watch Jeremy Irvine discussing his support of JDRF on Sky News 29/11/2012

Inspired by Jeremy? See how you can get involved with JDRF


Birthday bash for Beefy: JDRF supporter and cricket legend Sir Ian Botham’s birthday celebrations to raise funds for JDRF

Cricketing legend and JDRF supporter Sir Ian Botham is celebrating his 60th birthday next week with a big celebration featuring special guests including the likes of Shane Warne and Sir Viv Richards alongside live music from Eric Clapton to raise funds for charities including JDRF.

Beefy's Big 60th Birthday Bash will take place on Saturday 25th July from 11:00am at Wormsley Cricket Ground in Buckinghamshire. Sir Ian will be joined by cricketing legends, Sir Viv Richards, Darren Gough, Matthew Hoggard and Wasim Akram, alongside spin-master Shane Warne, before guitar legend Eric Clapton takes to the stage in the evening.

Sir Ian’s daughter, Becky Botham-Armstrong  lives with type 1 diabetes and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania for JDRF in June 2014, along with a team of fellow JDRF supporters. Sir Ian also launched a philanthropic initiative in 2014 called Beefy’s Charity Foundation. JDRF is one of the lucky organisations which receives support from this new charity.

On JDRF, Sir Ian Botham said: 

"My daughter Becky was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged nine and it had a big impact on the whole family. At the time I was often away on tour with the England cricket team. This left my wife Kath coping with the insulin injections, finger-prick blood tests, and other demands of Becky’s condition. 

“Becky herself has grown to tackle the challenges of type 1 diabetes with typical Botham spirit. I was immensely proud when she climbed Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, for the type 1 diabetes charity JDRF in 2014.” 

He added: “I am very happy to be involved with JDRF as it supports research into how to more effectively treat type 1 diabetes and aims to one day prevent and cure the condition. I salute all those who support this charity.” 

Adele Claase, Head of Events for JDRF, said:

“JDRF is so fortunate to have the Botham family as friends. Becky’s trek up Kilimanjaro was nothing short of heroic. To have the support of her father’s foundation is a wonderful bonus. Beefy’s Charity Foundation will help us to support vital research into better treating, preventing and one day curing type 1 diabetes.” 

For more information about how to secure tickets for Beefy's Big 60th Birthday Bash follow this link.

Inspired by Becky Botham-Armstrong’s conquering of Kilimanjaro? See how you can get involved with JDRF



BBC expresses 'regret' over hypo story in The Syndicate

The BBC has responded to complaints from JDRF and people living with type 1 diabetes after its television drama The Syndicate appeared to suggest a character with low blood glucose was treated with insulin.

The final episode of the flagship BBC One drama, which was viewed by nearly 5.5 million people, was heavily criticised on social media for its portrayal of hypoglycaemia, with some outraged viewers pointing out that giving insulin to someone suffering from a hypo could be fatal.

 A spokesperson for BBC Complaints said:

"We regret if we have given the impression to some viewers that low blood sugar should be treated with insulin. We appreciate that type 1 diabetes is a very serious illness and we understand why some viewers raised concerns. We would always advise that anyone affected should seek medical advice on how best to treat and manage symptoms."

The spokesperson added:

"We acknowledge that if someone is suffering from hypoglycemia/low blood glucose (blood sugar) that an insulin injection shouldn’t be given. At no point in the programme was it stated that this is what was happening to Amy when she received the injections; much of this aspect of the story is told through recollections, and possible fabrications, by Amy. So we are left unsure if she did suffer from low blood glucose at any time - or if any of her story was true at all. This is, after all, a fictionalised drama and the intention was never to advise viewers how to treat someone who is suffering from hypoglycemia." 

Kay Mellor, writer of the drama series, had earlier hit back insisting she had researched type 1 diabetes whilst writing the series and reiterating that the programme was "in no way a medical drama".

If you have any questions about hypoglycaemia or type 1 diabetes more generally please visit our website which includes FAQs and more information about living with the condition.



Behind the headlines: a laser-powered blood glucose test?

You may have seen the news today about a device that could check a person’s blood glucose levels without the need for fingerprick testing. Instead, the device uses a low-powered laser to measure blood glucose levels through the skin.

At the moment, the device, which is being developed at the University of Leeds, is in the early stages of testing: it is currently the size of a shoe box and has only been tested in a trial of 12 people. However if the results from the prototype are promising – the Leeds team believes they are – a smaller, more portable version could be developed to undergo a further round of testing.

This may even take the form of a device that continuously monitors blood glucose, according to Professor Gin Jose, who led the study: ‘Currently, we are piloting a bench top version in our clinical investigations but aim to develop two types of devices for the market. One will be a finger-touch device similar to a computer mouse. The other will be a wearable version for continuous monitoring.’

Conor McKeever, Research Communication Officer at JDRF in the UK, commented: 'It's great that scientists are innovating with different techniques to make life easier for people living with type 1 - we’ll be watching with interest to see how the team turns this prototype into new devices.’

‘However, much larger clinical trials of these devices will be necessary before any regulatory agency will consider them equivalent to fingerprick testing.'


Leicestershire schoolgirl to meet singer from chart-topping band Haim in Washington D.C. as she joins more than 160 children at the JDRF 2015 Children’s Congress

Rock star Este Haim will join more than 160 children, ranging in age from 4 to 17, from across the United States and the world for the JDRF 2015 Children’s Congress.

The event will be held from today until Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

While on Capitol Hill the child Delegates will call for urgent action to ensure funding for medical research and access to improved therapies for type 1 diabetes – a condition that affects all the young Delegates and the celebrity role models in attendance at the event. 

Leicestershire schoolgirl Millie Hainge, who has already delivered her own manifesto to Parliament and visited 10 Downing Street, is attending what promises to be an exciting and useful event. 13-year-old Millie, from Hinkley, is fully deserving of this opportunity. She has been an impressive and commited supporter of JDRF since being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2011 at the age of nine. In addition to visiting 10 Downing Street and Parliament, Millie has been on ITV's flagship 'Daybreak' and BBC Radio Leicestershire to raise the profile of type 1 diabetes. 

Este Haim is bassist and singer in the Grammy-nominated band Haim.  The debut album from Haim, made up of sisters Este, Danielle and Alana reached number 1 in the UK in 2013. Este was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 14 years old.

Joining the celebrities at the event will be JDRF’s President and CEO, Derek Rapp, JDRF’s Chief Scientific Officer, Richard Insel, and JDRF’s Chief Mission Officer and Vice President of Research, Aaron Kowalski. 

“We are so excited to welcome the celebrity advocates who will join us at JDRF’s Children’s Congress in Washington, D.C. in July,” said Aaron Kowalski. “Through their daily lives as leaders in their professions, they show us every day that despite the many challenges of living with type 1 diabetes, one can achieve one’s dreams, and together through advocacy we can create a world without type 1 diabetes.”

JDRF Children’s Congress, one of the most powerful advocacy events on Capitol Hill, has been held every other year since 1999.

Delegates will thank Congress for its renewal of the Special Diabetes Program, which accounts for one-third of all US federal research for type 1 diabetes, and call for Medicare access to life-changing diabetes technologies.

As well as its activities in Washington D.C, JDRF interacts with governments around the globe to bring us closer to cure for type 1 diabetes. Get involved with our work with UK parliamentarians.


Artificial pancreas on display in Science Museum as an example of future medical life-changers for those with type 1 diabetes

For the first time in the UK, the public will be able to view up close an artificial pancreas after it was announced London’s prestigious Science Museum will be displaying the emerging and ground-breaking device for the next three months.

An artificial pancreas is being developed by a team of JDRF-supported researchers in the University of Cambridge and will be situated in the 'Who Am I?' exhibition. This exhibition includes many other intriguing objects, ‘provocative’ artworks and hands-on displays.

The Science Museum is among a small group of museums with a great deal of focus on the future as well as the past; investigating historic moments and trends in science but also with an emphasis on the present and future of science and scientific developments. The artificial pancreas is being displayed as something that will change the lives of many people in the near-future.

An artificial pancreas is a ground-breaking feat of technology that could do the job of a healthy pancreas by providing the insulin required to the body, adjusting to the body's changing needs automatically on a minute-to minute basis.

Comprised of three elements:  an insulin pump, a continuous glucose monitor and an algorithm, the artificial pancreas promises to radically improve the quality of life for people with type 1 diabetes.

There is much more information on the artificial pancreas available on the JDRF website. To find out more about the possibilities on the horizon as it moves closer to being available and how it might affect you, take a look through the resources below:


We asked what inspires you to overcome type 1 diabetes challenges. Your responses were amazing.

For our Staff Conference this week  we asked both JDRF staff and our wonderful supporters what inspires them to overcome the challenges of live affected by type 1 diabetes. We received some wonderful responses and wanted to share some amazing stories. 

We received stories and photos on Twitter under #JDRFInspire, on Facebook and via email. Thank you to everyone who took part!

Some of the messages we received on email:

Mohd Javed Khan, Type 1 diabetic for 16 years: 

“When I was 10 my parents took me to the doctor because they were worried as I’d lost a lot of weight, was extremely tired all the time and was always feeling dehydrated. The only thing I remember was hearing the doctor say 'your son has type 1 diabetes'. During times of stress and illness my mother is my biggest source of inspiration and is my biggest strength. My care team have also been great, especially my doctor and dietician. They’re with me all the way. Thank you everyone!"


Mum of two children with type 1 diabetes, Claire sent us this wonderful message:

“I have two people who inspire me every day- my children Harrison, aged 15, and Grace, aged 11. Harrison and Grace live with type 1 diabetes.  Every day I witness their emotional and physical battle with this disease in all aspects of their lives and they face these daily battles with very little fuss and hardly any complaining.

Harrison was diagnosed at the age of 4 years and Grace was diagnosed last year, so they are both in very different places with this condition. Every day Harrison supports Grace as she is struggling with her life change and Grace cares for Harrison in way only they both understand. They have both dealt with their diabetes in a really mature way and they never asked for sympathy or any different treatment.”

To see more inspirational photos from our supporters please visit our Flickr page at this link.


JDRF contacts the BBC after drama appears to wrongly depict insulin as hypo treatment for character with type 1 diabetes

Last night the eagerly-anticipated finale of the popular BBC One series The Syndicate drew sharp criticism for a portrayal of type 1 diabetes that appeared inaccurate. 

In the action-packed episode, which saw the second series of Kay Mellor’s popular drama come to an end, some viewers were left angry after a main character with low blood glucose was treated with insulin.

Insulin sends a person’s blood glucose levels down. Therefore if someone is ‘hypo’ (suffering a hypoglycaemic episode, ie low blood glucose) injecting insulin is dangerous.

After the episode had aired a number of viewers took to social media.

One user said:

“Frustrating watching the syndicate on BBC1, giving insulin to a girl having a hypo-bad advice could be fatal #diabetes”

While another complained: 

Really bad misrepresentation of diabetes and use of insulin on #TheSyndicate” 


Some of the criticisms were stronger in tone, with one viewer fuming: 

“Complete misrepresentation of Type 1 diabetes on @BBC #TheSyndicate tonight. Absolutely ridiculous fact checking”.


Karen Addington, Chief Executive  in the UK of JDRF, the world’s leading type 1 diabetes research charity, commented:

“Television writers and producers have a responsibility to portray life with a condition such as type 1 diabetes accurately. JDRF is contacting the BBC’s drama department to remind it that we offer fact-checking on any portrayals involving the condition.”

Find out more about JDRF-supported research that is attempting to make hypos a thing of the past.


Superstar JDRF supporter Nick Jonas criticises 'ignorant comments' and calls for type 1 and type 2 diabetes understanding

The former teen heartthrob, famous for the Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum pop band the Jonas Brothers he formed alongside his two siblings, responded passionately on Twitter yesterday to what he referred to as 'ignorant comments'  from a fitness company that tweeted a fake Coca-Cola advert featuring the slogan 'open diabetes'. 

Jonas interpreted the tweet as offensive to people living with type 1 diabetes.

He also called for increased sensitivity to all health conditions and proper education on the cause of type 1 diabetes as well as on the day-to-day experiences of those living with the condition.

Nick Jonas, 22, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged 13. He has since spoken of how he lost over a stone in two to three weeks before being diagnosed. The singer left a Jonas Brothers tour to consult with a doctor who found his glucose levels were very high. This, however, did not prevent Nick from reaching stardom  and he re-joined the tour three days later.

After tweeting his disappointment on Twitter the singer received a wealth of support from many people who also live with type 1 diabetes and face misconceptions regarding the condition as part of day-to-day life.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic life-long condition where a person's pancreas produces no insulin. The exact cause of the condition is unknown but is not linked to lifestyle or diet. Type 2 diabetes meanwhile is when a person's body is unable to make enough insulin.

Because the precise causes of type 1 diabetes are not known, and type 2 has a greater media and public profile, many myths about type 1 diabetes continue to prevail. Type 1 diabetes is not caused by eating the wrong foods or too much sugar. In fact, it isn't caused by anything that the child or parents did or didn't do.

The debate on social media touched upon confusions surrounding what is known as double diabetes. Double diabetes is a term that is used to refer to a person with type 1 who develops insulin resistance and extra risk of cardiovascular problems (such as heart disease and strokes) in a way that is similar to people who develop type 2 diabetes. 

Find out more about double diabetes.


Young climber tackling Snowdon for JDRF on behalf of best friend with type 1 diabetes backed by Hollywood superstar Michael Sheen

A six year-old climbing extraordinaire, Isaac Norton, from south Wales will next month take on the mighty Welsh peak, Mount Snowdon to raise money for JDRF after being inspired by his best friend Fin, who has Type 1 diabetes.

Isaac, a keen climber will undertake the impressive feat alongside his father, Darren, his grandfather, Vaughan, and Fin’s father, Andrew.  A challenge for even the most seasoned walkers, this undertaking is made even more impressive as Isaac is six years of age. Mount Snowdon in northern Wales reaches a height of 1,085 metres, or more than 3700 feet and is the highest point in the UK outside of the Scottish Highlands. Climbing the peak really is a tall order.

Isaac’s expedition has already received celebrity recognition and support. Michael Sheen, south Wales native and Hollywood star of films such as Twilight, Frost/Nixon and The Damned United, has voiced his support for the climb and the families on Twitter.

The actor retweeted Isaac’s mum and added ‘not every day a six year old climbs highest mountain in Wales to help his best friend!’

Fin was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in January 2012 when he was only two years old. Fin’s mother, Bethan Gough, had observed how he was drinking and going to the bathroom more often than was expected. Recognising these as some of the signs of type 1 diabetes she took Fin to a local Out of Hours Emergency department where he was diagnosed immediately with the condition and admitted to hospital for five days. The family were then given the necessary information on type 1 diabetes, including on giving Fin daily insulin injections. Bethan has said that this was akin to receiving “a crash course in keeping our son alive”.

This inspired Isaac to combine his love for climbing with his wish to help his friend. He decided to tackle the Welsh peak to raise money for JDRF. The two boys have been friends since nursery school, sharing a common love for rugby and an enthusiasm for life. Rebekah Norton, Isaac’s mother, has learnt how to do Fin's blood tests and administer his insulin so that he is able to go to Isaac’s house after school to play.

Isaac had the idea to climb Snowdon after conquering Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons, also in Wales. After what his parents have called a period of ‘nagging’ from Isaac on the subject of climbing Snowdon it was suggested that, as this was such a big challenge for someone his age, he should climb the peak on behalf of a charity. He immediately expressed a wish to help Fin by raising money for JDRF. When asked why he chose this charity Isaac replied that “it makes [him] really sad that Fin has to wear a pump and have lots of injections”.

The fundraising for Isaac’s expedition has been astonishing. Isaac and his mother Rebekah set up a JustGiving page on the 4th June and the page had received £500 in donations by the next day. Isaac himself had originally set a target to reach £1000, but he and his family set what was then seen as a more ‘realistic’ target of £250. However the donations kept flooding in, far exceeding this initial target and the overall figure, from numerous donations, stands at a hugely impressive £1,190.00 (June 22nd). Fin was so grateful at his friend’s kindness that wanted to donate all his birthday money to say thank you! In the end he settled on donating £15 of his birthday money to be the one to take the total raised to £1000.

Bethan Gough, Fin’s mother, said of Isaac’s expedition:

“Our dream for Fin would be for there to one day be a cure which we know JDRF are actively working on. When Rebekah told me that Isaac wanted to climb Snowdon for Fin I was so overwhelmed and emotional as it's such a massive feat for a six year old. We are all travelling up to north Wales to be there when Isaac achieves his goal as we are so grateful to him for what he is doing.”

Rebekah Norton, Isaac’s mother, added:

“Isaac wants to raise lots of money so that hopefully a cure will be found one day, and Fin won't have to wear a pump anymore. I have had to explain to Isaac that what he's doing won't make Fin better straight away, because he's getting so excited as he's seeing the total increase, and keeps saying 'oh Fin is going to get better even sooner now!' But he knows that it will help make a difference to Fin and others with type 1, and he's thrilled about that.”

The ever-modest Isaac has himself acknowledged the difficulty he faces, conceding that the expedition will not be easy, but has shown a remarkable determination to reach the summit for his best friend.

 To donate click here.

Are you inspired by Isaac's climbing challenge? You could run, walk, swim or even cycle from Brussels to Paris for JDRF! 


Combined treatment for type 1 diabetes could stop the immune system in its tracks

JDRF researchers in California and Italy have successfully used ‘gene therapy’ to reverse the immune attack behind type 1 diabetes in mice.

Mice that received the treatment not only kept their remaining insulin-producing beta cells, but also stabilised their blood glucose levels without external insulin.

The researchers, led by Professor Maria Grazia Roncarolo, developed the treatment by combining two kinds of therapy that have shown promise for treating autoimmune conditions in the past. The first, gene therapy, saw them transfer part of a gene involved in insulin production into liver cells. This spurred the mice’s immune systems into stopping any rogue immune cells that might try to kill off insulin-producing cells. As a result, no more of these rogue cells were able to infiltrate the pancreas, even up to 33 weeks after the therapy. In comparison, mice that did not receive gene therapy had lost 80% of their insulin-producing cells after 33 weeks.

However, this part of the treatment did not reduce the number of immune cells present – it only maintained it. To allow the mice to restore their blood glucose levels, the researchers then used a single dose of a drug that can kill off immune cells. After this, 75% of the mice had blood glucose levels that stayed low for many weeks without needing external insulin.

The drug, called a monoclonal antibody, is often used after organ transplants to stop the immune system rejecting the organ. But there are issues with using these drugs continuously, as the body needs its immune system to fight off illnesses. So the fact that the treatment only needed a single dose – thanks to the addition of the gene therapy – is very promising.

Rachel Connor, Head of Research Communication at JDRF in the UK, said: ‘Over the last few years our understanding of how the immune system works in health and in type 1 diabetes has grown enormously. This innovative study has come up with a novel way of helping the immune system bring the attack on insulin producing beta cells under control, and even reverse it.

‘Gene therapy treatments are beginning to be tested in people now, so despite a long research journey ahead, approaches like this one may one day be able to help people with type 1 diabetes.'

The research was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.


Ride to Cure Diabetes raises impressive £15,000 – with more to come

JDRF's annual Ride to Cure Diabetes event in London has raised nearly £15,000. The event took place for the seventh year on 12 June 2015 outside the iconic Royal Exchange building in the City of London. Teams are still competing for the top fundraising prize and many companies offer matched giving to double the team fundraising total.

Energy was high, and the competitive spirit was alive under the marquee as 27 teams competed against each other over two sessions to see which team could peddle the furthest in 40 minutes. The team champions this year were Sweet Spin Music from Schroders, who peddled a total distance of 29,993m. The King of the Ride was Barry O’Sullivan who rode 6,451m and the Queen of the Ride was Emma-Lea Davis with a distance of 5,497m.

There were 16 volunteers hand to make sure the entire day ran smoothly, and we couldn’t have done it without their help. A big thank you to our sponsors AIG, as well as BOOM Cycle, whose MCs kept the crowd energised and excited.

Elizabeth Rowley, Regional Fundraiser for London, said: 'We’re so glad that this event is able to raise more vital funds for type 1 diabetes research year-on-year and hope next year’s event will be bigger and better than ever! '


The Duchess of Cornwall is guest of honour at type 1 diabetes charity event

The Duchess of Cornwall  was guest of honour at a special charity preview of Art Antiques London Party in the Park in support of type 1 diabetes charity JDRF.

Her Royal Highness, who became President of the charity in 2012, met guests including music icon Boy George, Hollywood and stage actor Rory Kinnear, Emmy-award winning actress Susan Hampshire, Downton Abbey creator Lord Fellowes and his wife Lady Fellowes, Olympic gold-medallist Amy Williams MBE and Olympic gold-medallist Ben Ainslie CBE. Her Royal Highness also met Home Secretary Theresa May, who announced two years ago that she had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Art Antiques London Party in the Park is an annual event held in Kensington Gardens to showcase collections of traditional and contemporary art, antiques and jewellery from more than 70 exhibitors.

Boy George treated last night's guests to a vocal performance which demonstrated the talent that has seen him sell over 50 million albums in his lifetime. 

The singer, who recently won an Ivor Novello award for outstanding contribution to British music, said: “Much of my music is about positivity and joy – and my charity work is done in the same spirit. JDRF is a special organisation supporting vital research into type 1 diabetes.”

Boy George spoke to the crowd about a the diagnosis of a close friend’s child with type 1 diabetes, saying “I get it. I see what she goes through.”
The event was staged for the type 1 diabetes charity JDRF to boost its mission to find the cure for the condition, through the support of world-class class scientific research in the UK and abroad.

The Duchess of Cornwall first became involved with the charity when she met JDRF supporters affected by type 1 diabetes in Cambridge in 2012. She has subsequently met talented JDRF-funded researchers at University College Hospital in London and at the University of Dundee.

Lord Fellowes, known to his friends as Julian, is committed to using his profile to raise awareness of type 1 diabetes and JDRF. Last year, he supported a JDRF fundraising dinner at Highclere Castle, Hampshire, where Downton Abbey is filmed. He also allowed Downton Abbey’s ‘Atticus Aldridge’ character to be named through a 2013 auction for the charity.

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF in the UK, said: “What a spectacularly successful evening. We are so grateful to our President, the Duchess of Cornwall, for joining us, for her ongoing and incredibly valuable support. Thank you also to everyone who came along.”

She added: “JDRF works across the UK and the wider world for a day when type 1 diabetes no longer exists. The cure will be found – it’s just a question of time, money and excellent research.” 


Music legend Boy George to sing for JDRF and type 1 diabetes research

New Romantic icon, artist and DJ Boy George will attend and perform at Art Antiques London Party in the Park, in Kensington on Wednesday (June 10).

The auction event will support JDRF, the type 1 diabetes charity, in its mission to find the cure for type 1 diabetes.

Boy George has sold over 50 million albums and has appeared in the BBC’s 100 Greatest Britons of All Time. As well as achieving worldwide fame with Culture Club, he is one of the most influential DJs in the history of house music.

Speaking to JDRF, he said: “Much of my music is about positivity and joy – and my charity work is done in the same spirit. JDRF is a special organisation supporting vital research into type 1 diabetes.”

Michael Connellan of JDRF said: “We are utterly thrilled and very thankful to have Boy George supporting us. His support will help us raise greater national awareness of type 1 diabetes and the challenges it brings.”

Boy George is only one of a host of stars attending the June 10 event. Those who wish to support JDRF by attending the event should click here to find out more.


Downton Abbey creator Lord Fellowes to appear for JDRF next week

Lord Fellowes – a titan of Britain’s cultural scene and creator of Downton Abbey – is to attend a glittering fundraising event for JDRF this June with his wife the Lady Fellowes.

June 10 will see the couple appear at Art Antiques London Party in the Park, which will take place in a purpose-built pavilion in Kensington Gardens opposite the Royal Albert Hall.  There will also be a fabulous auction with top luxury prizes on offer – and some tickets are still available.

Known to his friends as Julian, Lord Fellowes is committed to using his profile to raise awareness of type 1 diabetes and JDRF. Last year, he attended a JDRF fundraising dinner at Highclere Castle, Hampshire, where Downton Abbey is filmed.

He will be joined on June 10 by patron of the event Susan Hampshire, OBE, the Emmy Award-winning actress well known for her roles in Monarch of the Glen and The Forsyte Saga.

Click here to purchase a ticket for next week’s event, or check out our range of glitzy and glamourous events taking place around the UK.