Major conference for type 1 diabetes

Organised entirely by volunteers
  • Deborah Condon

A major conference aimed at people living with type 1 diabetes is to take place later this year.

Last October, the first Thriveabetes (Thrive with Type 1 Diabetes) Conference took place, with 190 people in attendance. This year's event is expecting around 300 people and includes a programme specifically developed for children and teenagers with the condition.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the immune system attacks cells in the pancreas, resulting in no insulin being produced. Insulin is an essential hormone that controls our blood sugar (glucose) levels, which are needed for energy. It is treated using insulin injections or an insulin pump.

Poor management of the condition can lead to serious complications such as damage to the eyes, kidneys, heart and lower limbs.

Unlike type 2 diabetes, which can be prevented, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and there is no cure.

The event's co-founder and organiser, Gráinne Flynn, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 23 years ago. She spent ‘seven years in isolation' before meeting another person with the condition, but said things have changed now, partially due to the advent of social media.

She pointed out that this event has been entirely organised by volunteers from the diabetes community, with the support of the charity, Diabetes Ireland.

One of the keynote speakers at this year's event is going to be world famous author, Gary Scheiner, who wrote Think Like A Pancreas. Mr Scheiner is a certified diabetes educator and clinical director of Integrated Diabetes Services in Pennsylvania in the US. He was diagnosed with type 1 over 30 years ago.

Others speakers will include Gavin Griffiths, an ultramarathon runner and member of the International Diabetes Federation's Young Leader in Diabetes (YLD) programme, and Anna Clarke, health promotion manager at Diabetes Ireland.

The event will take place on October 1, 2016, in Naas, Co Kildare. Tickets cost €35 per adult, or €60 for two. Children cost €15. Advance registration is required here


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