A ST HELENS woman who has been an insulin dependent diabetic for half a century has been presented with an award by Diabetes UK.

Sixty-six year old Dorothy Pimblett from Thatto Heath received the Diabetes UK Nabarro Medal by Phil Wilkinson, Diabetes Specialist Nurse at St Helens Hospital, in a ceremony at St Helens Town Hall.

Dorothy was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1963, after experiencing the main symptoms of the condition which include frequent urinating, excessive thirst, tiredness, and unexplained weight loss.

Dorothy said: “I was diagnosed after feeling ill for a year when blood tests revealed that I had diabetes. I was immediately admitted to hospital for several weeks in order to get used to the needles and the diet.”

Dorothy has seen significant advances to the monitoring and treatment of the condition over the past five decades, “When I was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, I had to use a large glass syringe which had to be sterilised by pouring boiling water over it and I tested my urine with test tubes and tablets. The diet was very restrictive and I had to weigh all my food and eat the same food each day,” she said.

“I felt I had no control over my diabetes. A few years ago I attended a clinic at St Helens Hospital to update myself and found out I could eat puddings and cakes, as long as I controlled my insulin.”

Reflecting on her life with diabetes, Dorothy said: “I can’t say that life with diabetes is all good, you do go through some ups and downs, but the way I look at it is – I have my son and my daughter, I don’t look ill, I can walk and talk and do most things that other people can do - so I count my blessings.”

She praised the work of Debbie Larty, diabetes nurse, and staff at Rainbow Medical Centre in Elephant Lane and St Helens Hospital Diabetic Clinic for the treatment she has received.

“I am so proud to receive the medal and hope it inspires others with diabetes, especially anyone newly diagnosed. You can live with it, have a family and enjoy life to the full. My husband James says he also deserves a medal for putting up with my moods when my blood sugar goes low!” said Dorothy, who worked as a receptionist at Cowley Hill Health Centre.

Jo Cunnah, of Diabetes UK, said: “To hear a story such as Dorothy’s is quite inspirational. At Diabetes UK we invest in research with the hope of one day finding a cure.”

For further details on the St Helens & District Group of Diabetes UK call Cherry Bowmaker on 0151 480 0821.