Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Parliament with JDRF #Type1Catalyst

Yesterday, I took myself off to Parliament to join JDRF, MP's, their constituents, and some health care professionals, to celebrate the achievements of JDRF in funding into Type 1 Research, and to be reminded of how important the role the Government plays in making all of it happen. Lots of blue T-Shirts congregated in the Terrace Pavilion in the Houses of Parliament for the event, hosted by Jamie Reed MP. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear about the progress being made by scientists and doctors in the quest to prevent and cure Type 1 Diabetes, as well as a good opportunity to catch up with internet friends!

Jonathan Valabhji, National Clinical Director for Obesity and Diabetes at NHS England, was there, as well as Theresa May, Home Secretary, who took the time to pop in quickly, as she did at Type 1 Parliament in 2014. Then there were researchers, those whose names you probably haven't heard of, such as Mark Peakman, Professor of Clinical Immunology at King's College, who is trying to figure out how to stop the bodies immune response to the insulin-producing beta cells, who knows important information like the fact that if your body still produces C-Peptide then you have less risk of complications...These people are the ones who work behind the scenes, the ones who work tirelessly to find the way that this world will be rid of Type 1 Diabetes, to find ways of preventing this disease from ever developing, to stop children and adults lives being dependant on insulin.

This time was different to Type 1 Parliament, because, instead of everyone rallying to try and get our MP's to back Government funding into Type 1 Diabetes research, we were celebrating progress, celebrating things that as Karen Addington, CEO of JDRF UK said, are no longer ideas, but they're being developed and they're being tested and they're a reality. And what a privilege it was to be able to acknowledge all of these big strides being made in Type 1 Diabetes along with JDRF UK and other people who are living with Type 1 Diabetes.

What I also did, as well as chat to lots of wonderful people and appreciate the work that JDRF does, I had the chance to interview Derek Rapp, who is the CEO of JDRF US, before the event began. Now this was a very last minute arrangement because unfortunately, Laura (Ninjabetic), who was the original person meant to be interviewing him, couldn't make it, so she asked me to step in...so I found myself at Abington Street Gardens, Westminster, interviewing Derek, who is a very nice man and I'm really pleased I was able to fill in for Laura when she asked!

We left Parliament with the message to keep being catalysts for change, and with the words "You're the reason the landscape of Type 1 Diabetes research is better" from Karen Addington, and Jamie Reed MP telling us to "Keep rattling the bars". We have to keep pushing for change, and keep rallying for funding into the research that will, in time, and with the all important Government support and funding for JDRF, hopefully help us see a world with out Type 1 Diabetes.