A DIABETES sufferer is backing a new campaign to highlight the importance of education.
Kris Cerullo, from St Helens, is supporting Diabetes UK’s Taking Control campaign, which has been launched ahead of World Diabetes Day on Saturday, to highlight the huge difference diabetes education courses can make.
The charity says the courses can help people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes take better control of their condition, giving them the best possible chance of living long and healthy lives.
Kris, 51, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1976 at the age of 12 but after 34 years of living with the condition she attended a diabetes education course which changed her life around.
Kris, a HR administrator, said: “Managing diabetes can be demanding and it’s really not easy. When I was diagnosed there was little available for me to be able to learn to live well with type 1 and there were so many myths about diabetes.”
After moving to the area in 2003, Kris attended a course at St Helens Hospital.
She said: “I had developed problems with my eyesight as a result of diabetes, and so really wanted to get a hold of my condition.
“I was referred to an education course which empowered me to take control of things, as it explained what diabetes is and every aspect of how to take care of yourself. It wasn’t scary or hard to understand, everything finally made sense.
“I lived in fear and ignorance before I was given the tools to take control of diabetes. My life has changed dramatically since attending an education course.”
There are more than 10,900 people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes in St Helens.
Stephen Ryan, North of England Regional Manager at Diabetes UK, said: “There is strong evidence that when people with diabetes are equipped with the knowledge and skills to manage their condition effectively, they can improve their quality of life.
“They can also reduce their risk of developing avoidable complications, such as kidney disease, stroke and amputation.
“We have launched our Taking Control campaign to highlight the importance of good quality diabetes education.
“We want to encourage everyone in St Helens who is living with diabetes to go and ask their healthcare professional for information about a diabetes education course.
“The campaign also calls on the NHS to make sure that everyone with diabetes has access to the education and support they need to manage their diabetes well.
“Everyone with diabetes should have access to education from the moment of diagnosis and then throughout their lives.”
Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #TakingControl and to find out more, visit diabetes.org.uk/taking-control.