Colin from Exmouth’s medal to mark his 50 years of diabetes

PUBLISHED: 06:30 16 January 2016

Colin and  his wife Diane with the the Alan Nabarro Medal.

Colin and his wife Diane with the the Alan Nabarro Medal.


An Exmouth man, who has received a medal to mark him living with diabetes for 50 years, believes a cure for the condition is possible.

Colin Rowland, 57, who was diagnosed with type one diabetes in 1966 at eight years old, has been presented with the Alan Nabarro medal by Diabetes UK.

Alan Nabarro was diagnosed with diabetes in 1922 and was given six months to live. Fortunately, insulin was discovered in 1923 and he was able to successfully manage his condition over the following 55 years.

He spent his career fighting discrimination for people living with diabetes. In 1968, he was awarded the OBE for his work with young people in London.

Colin Rowland has spent 15 years working for Diabetes UK and American charity the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as a motivational speaker and fundraiser for children with the condition.

Colin, of Hulham Road, said: “I was surprised to receive the Alan Nabarro medal, but I am also receiving a medal from the Joslin Diabetes Center.

“Both medals will be given to my mum Barbara, who is in her 80s - she doesn’t know I have got them.

“Diabetes is a very serious condition and back in 1966 there was no technology to monitor the condition. You are totally reliant on people around you to help, so that includes my wife Diane, my children Harry and Beth and my mother when she had that responsibility.

“The condition also led to a lot of problems for me when I was younger. The condition affected my eye sight, which is very common, and placed a lot of restrictions on what physical activities I could do. However, I made up for that in later life by running marathons.

“I believe in the next 10 years there will be a cure for type one diabetes, which will come as a great relief to both the children and parents living with the condition. Currently, 20 per cent of our NHS budget is spent on treating diabetes.”

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