A SUNDERLAND woman has been honoured for her tireless campaign to improve diabetes care and support.
Retired payroll administrator Gwen Young won the Margaret Hunter Volunteer of the Year award and the Campaigning and Raising Awareness award at the Diabetes UK’s regional Inspire Awards.
Sixty-two-year-old Gwen was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 22 years ago and contacted the Diabetes UK Careline for advice.
Thanks to the support she received, her attitude to her condition was transformed and she has since devoted her time to volunteering for Diabetes UK and campaigning for improvements in care.
She volunteers as a Service Champion for Diabetes UK, sits on the local advisory group and is the longest standing member of the Sunderland Diabetes Network.
Stephen Ryan, Head of the North of England at Diabetes UK, said: “Gwen has volunteered a huge amount of time and energy to Diabetes UK and we would like to say an enormous thank you to her.
“As Service Champion, she is the voice of diabetes in the Sunderland region reporting on, and helping to shape, diabetes services.
“Her work has had real impact on the lives of people living with diabetes in the area – she was very involved in the development of a primary care centre in Sunderland, ensuring there was a room large enough for patient education.
“It was also her idea that resulted in people with diabetes getting a foot check at the same time as having their retinal screening, helping to reduce the number of foot amputations for people with diabetes in the region.”
Gwen said: “I couldn’t believe it. I was totally and absolutely shocked to get the Margaret Hunter Volunteer of the Year award.
“Margaret was such an inspiration to so many, having worked tirelessly for people with diabetes and Diabetes UK. She inspired me to get involved in the Sunderland support group 20 years ago, so it’s really quite amazing that I have now won her award.”