A Northampton woman who has been secretary of her local Diabetes UK support group for 30 years has won a volunteering award from the charity Diabetes UK.
Sandra Attwood, who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 31 years ago, won the Supporting Others award at the charity’s regional Inspire Awards, held in the Radisson Blu Hotel at the East Midlands Airport.
Sandra was encouraged to join the local group by her consultant.
Sandra’s father also had Type 2 diabetes but had only been diagnosed when he had already developed complications associated with the condition.
Sandra, a former diabetes nurse educator, said: “My father also had Type 2 diabetes but he had only been diagnosed when he had complications. From theoutset, I wanted to learn as much as I could about the condition to help me to control it better.
“I became very good friends with a woman in the support group who had had diabetes since she was 10 and I found her very inspirational, which spurred me on. I would definitely recommend that people get involved with their local groups.”
Not only is Sandra the secretary of the Northampton area group but she is also a patient representative, which involves monitoring diabetes care standards in the area. From organising petitions to prevent podiatry services from being axed to protecting the roles of diabetes specialist nurses in the area, Sandra is a formidable campaigner on behalf of people with diabetes. Now she admits she is looking for a bit of support in her role.
Sandra said: “I really want someone to share the role of Secretary with me and take on some of the responsibility. It is incredibly rewarding and I hope I can inspire someone to get involved!”
Peter Shorrick, Diabetes UK Midlands Regional Manager, said: “Sandra has devoted her life to people with diabetes and thoroughly deserves this award. She works incredibly hard both in her role as secretary and that of patient representative and her tenacious approach has really paid off. She really is the perfect volunteer.
“The Inspire Awards are a great opportunity to thank our fantastic volunteers for their dedication, which helps us support people with diabetes. There are 3.2 million people in the UK diagnosed with diabetes, and our dedicated volunteers like Sandra help us support them to manage their condition, as well as reach people at risk of Type 2 diabetes and fund pioneering research.
“Our volunteers are our army on the ground working hard in their communities. Our much-needed work wouldn’t be possible without their incredible support.”
Commenting on her award, Sandra said: “I am really pleased and feel very humbled that people think that my work deserves an award. I’ve found it all very rewarding in terms of providing support for others with diabetes but also, being involved with Diabetes UK has helped me to cope with the condition.”
For more information about the Northampton Diabetes UK support group, visit northampton.diabetesukgroup.org/.