A RETIRED teacher with type 2 diabetes from Oxfordshire has been recognised nationally for her volunteering efforts.

Carolyn Newbert, from Wallingford, was presented with the Reaching out and Connecting award at Diabetes UK's virtual Inspire Awards to celebrate Volunteers’ Week earlier this month.

She said: “Since being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a few years ago, I’ve lost a significant amount of weight and my diabetes has gone into remission. Diabetes UK really helped me understand the condition and what was needed to turn things around and achieve remission.

“My lifestyle changed: I started walking everywhere instead of driving and followed a healthy diet. I’ve also done the charity’s Million Step Challenge three years running which makes walking long distances a fun way to keep fit. Three million steps and counting. I plan to do the challenge again this year too.”

Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly.

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Being overweight is the single greatest risk factor for developing the condition, while age, family history, and ethnicity can also contribute to someone’s risk.

It can lead to sight loss, amputation, stroke and kidney failure if not managed well.

Ms Newbert said: “I really enjoy volunteering and feel part of the family at Diabetes UK.

"I sit on the charity’s Clinical Studies Group which is looking at type 2 diabetes prevention, targets and therapies.

"My role is to represent the views and needs of people affected by the condition in setting the research priority areas for the organisation. I help the decision-making process and also give talks locally to raise awareness about diabetes.”

Jill Steaton, regional head in the South East for Diabetes UK, said: “Carolyn is someone who can always be relied on to rise to every challenge.

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"Through our Inspire Awards we thank our hard-working volunteers, like Carolyn, for their contributions, and celebrate the positive difference their work makes to the lives of people living with diabetes.”

The Inspire Awards celebrate Diabetes UK’s dedicated volunteers who campaign to improve the quality of care available to people with diabetes, fundraise for pioneering research and raise awareness to stem the rising tide of diabetes.

Due to the Covid-19 situation, Ms Newbert was honoured in a virtual ceremony held online on June 3 which celebrated the achievements of eight Inspire Award winners across the South East region.

To find out more about becoming a volunteer for Diabetes UK, or to join a local support group, email south.east@diabetes.org.uk.

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For those with diabetes in Oxfordshire a dedicated hotline has also been set up to help during the coronavirus pandemic.

Teams from Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) and neighbouring Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust worked together to create and man the hotline, which has been live since April. The patient hotline number is 01865 857357, and is available seven days a week from 8am until 4pm. Patients can also email dsnop.ocdem@nhs.net.

If patients have a query out of hours, they can call 0300 3047777.

Designed for patients who need urgent clinical advice, the aim is to give reassurance to those who are concerned about their diabetic health during Covid-19, and help prevent admission to hospital.

NHS staff have also been using technology so those with diabetes can remotely obtain essential data like glucose and insulin levels.