Volunteer’s 50 years of diabetes
A diabetic charity volunteer is set to be presented with a certificate after living with the condition for more than 50 years.
Michael Owen, 74, from Canterbury Road, Kennington, said his life changed at the age of 19 when he was first diagnosed.
At the time knowledge of how to treat the condition was not as advanced as today and for many it could have been a bleak diagnosis of type one diabetes.
Mr Owen, a former training officer for Mid Kent Water, was diagnosed after being in a motorbike accident in 1961 when he first suffered the symptoms of thirst, fatigue and the regular need to go to the toilet.
At the time he didn’t realise what the problem was and had to be taken to hospital after he was found collapsed at work.
He said: “My mother said if I didn’t go to the doctor’s then she would frogmarch me there.
“When I first was diagnosed I was told that my body was not producing insulin and therefore I had a year to live. It was a shock for me and my parents.
“I was still 18 and used to going out to the pub and having a packet of chips on the way home. Afterwards I was told I couldn’t do that any more.
“They brought in the syringes and you had to learn how to inject yourself. If you say ‘I can’t do that’ it was made clear that without it I would die. You suddenly realise it’s not funny any more.”
Mr Owen is a regular attendee at the Ashford Diabetic Support Group, where he volunteers as a treasurer.
At a meeting due to be held on Tuesday, June 14 he will be presented with the Alan Navaro medal for living with the condition for more than 50 years.
The group holds bi-monthly meetings at the community room at the Tesco Crooksfoot store off the A20 in Willesborough.
To find out more about the group or to get support visit www.adsg.org.uk
LEFT: Ashford Mayor George Kooware and Mayoress Gloria Champion with Liz Spencer and Ashford Kumon students
MEDAL: Michael Owen has had diabetes for 50 years