Sam joins footballer Scott Allan to set the record straight about diabetes
SAM MacKinnon from Oban is supporting the charity Diabetes UK to raise awareness of the illness and set the record straight about what it’s really like to live with the condition.
Sam travelled to Glasgow to join a group of children from across Scotland with type 1 diabetes to play football with Celtic player Scott Allan, who is also living with the condition; proving that having diabetes is not a barrier to playing sport.
Sam said: ‘I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was eight years old. It can be annoying sometimes as you have to remember to test your blood all the time and think about what you’re eating so you can take the right amount of insulin but it doesn’t stop me from doing anything. Some people think because I have type 1 diabetes I can’t play sport but I play sport all the time.’
More than four million people are living with diabetes across the UK, including 276,000 in Scotland. There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes affects around 10 per cent of those diagnosed while type 2 diabetes accounts for almost 90 per cent of cases.
Type 1 diabetes is most commonly diagnosed in children and adolescents although it can develop at any age. It’s a condition where the body cannot produce insulin and is treated by taking daily insulin doses either by injection or via an insulin pump. No one knows exactly what causes type 1 diabetes but it’s not caused by eating too many sweets or being overweight and it isn’t currently preventable.
Despite its prevalence, diabetes is still a very misunderstood condition with a number of common myths and misconceptions. This Diabetes Week, Diabetes UK is ‘setting the record straight’ to raise awareness of the condition and let people know the truth about what it’s like to live with it every day. As part of the campaign Sam, Scott and children from across Scotland with type 1 diabetes feature in a short online film which Diabetes UK hopes will go some way to dispelling the myth that people with diabetes can’t play sport.
Parkhead star Scott said: ‘It’s great that Diabetes UK is ‘Setting the Record Straight’ for this year’s Diabetes Week. Diabetes is very misunderstood and a lot of people believe the myths surrounding the condition. There are some who think that people with type 1 diabetes can’t play sport but I think I’m an example of how wrong that assumption is. I’ve lived with type 1 diabetes since I was three, and I’ve never let it hold me back. I’m pretty sure none of the children at today’s event are letting the condition stop them from doing what they want to do either.
‘This Diabetes UK event has been excellent – I’ve really enjoyed chatting and playing football with the children. It’s been lots of fun and I hope the kids have had a good day too.’
As part of the event, Sam took part in a football coaching session and games at Toryglen Regional Football Centre in Glasgow, followed by a trip to the nearby Hampden Museum.
Sam said: ‘It was brilliant to meet Scott because he shows that it doesn’t matter if you have diabetes. You can still do what you want to do. It’s great to see people with diabetes playing sport professionally.’
Although Sam demonstrates that diabetes does not have to hold you back, it is a complex condition which requires careful management every day in order to stay healthy.
Scott added: ‘It can be tough living with type 1 diabetes every day but it is possible to manage it and live the life you want. It’s important that people living with diabetes get the support and information they need to live well.
Diabetes Scotland runs an excellent helpline that people can get in touch with for specialist information and advice on all aspects of living with diabetes. You can call on 0141 212 8710 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and speak to someone who understands what it’s really like to live with diabetes. Sometimes we all need a bit of extra help so it’s great to know that support is just a phone call or email away.’
Sam MacKinnon pictured with Celtic footballer Scott Allan at Toryglen Football Centre in Glasgow during Diabetes Week.