Actors and athletes call for funding for type 1 diabetes research

by Barbara Hewitt on March 11, 2014

British actor Jude Law is backing a campaign in the UK aimed at persuading the government to invest more in research to find a cure for type 1 diabetes.

He has thrown his weight behind the research campaign, called #CountMeIn, organised by JDRF, a charity dedicated to raising funds for research into the condition.


The #CountMeIn campaign focuses on the personal impact type 1 diabetes has on the lives of those living with the condition

‘Type 1 diabetes can happen to anyone. It cannot be prevented, and is not linked to lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise. It is on the increase in the UK, especially in small children,’ said Law.

‘A child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of five faces up to 19,000 injections and 50,000 finger prick blood tests by the time they are 18. As a father, I can appreciate the strain that could place on a family,’ he pointed out.

‘That’s why JDRF has my full support for its #CountMeIn campaign for greater investment into type 1 diabetes research. For both children and adults with the condition, we must push forward to find the cure,’ he added.

JDRF funds research to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes and has just launched the campaign in the UK’s houses of parliament in London. It calls for the government to reverse the drop in type 1 diabetes research.

The #CountMeIn campaign is focusing on the personal impact type 1 diabetes has on the lives of those living with the condition. Whether it’s counting carbohydrates in food, counting blood glucose levels or counting insulin to inject, people with the condition must think about their personal numbers relating to type 1 diabetes every day.

‘Our message to Westminster can be much louder with the voices of the thousands of people affected by type 1 diabetes in the UK behind us,’ said a spokesman.

The charity also works to show that type 1 diabetes does not need to prevent people from fulfilling their dreams. For example Sochi Olympian Kris Freeman is believed to be the only person with type 1 diabetes to compete in a winter endurance sports event at the Olympics and completed the Cross Country Men’s Classic 15 kilometre race in a time of 42:54.8 minutes.

Kris, 33, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes nearly 14 years ago, and demonstrates that living with type 1 diabetes should not stop people living their lives to the full and proves what someone with the condition can achieve.

‘Any person newly diagnosed with diabetes has a steep learning curve as far as learning how to care for themselves. I was pretty much determined from day one to continue on with my career,’ he explained.

‘Despite talking to several doctors, three who told me that it was not possible to continue on with Olympic aspirations with diabetes, I went on and finally found a doctor who did believe in me. We started working together and here I am,’ he added.

He also travels to summer camps for children with diabetes across America when he is not training. ‘One of the things that I always stress when I talk to them is that the innovations in diabetes care have gotten so much better. The previous limitations and old ideas about what a person with diabetes can and can’t do are now outdated,’ he said.

Professional snowboarder Chris Southwell also has type 1 diabetes and is an ambassador for JDRF. Last year he completed a charity cycle from Brussels to Barcelona in 13 days and ran 100 miles in five days across the Himalayas.

‘I hope that my life experiences will motivate and inspire other people and particularly young people. I strongly support the important work it does to find the cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications. I believe that if you have the right control, determination, positive outlook and attitude you can achieve even your wildest of dreams and I am living mine,’ he said.

Chris will be participating in the charity’s Climb Kilimanjaro fund raising event in June this year. He will be making history with 18 others with type 1 diabetes, believed to be the largest group of people with the condition ever to scale Africa’s highest mountain.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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