Bexhill Rotarians sat spellbound listening to an emotional, uplifting and often very moving talk about 15 year old Isobel from her mother, Allison Tanner, at their meeting on Tuesday this week (20th May).
Allison, who was representing the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) as a promotion volunteer, revealed that ‘D-Day’ (Diagnosis Day) for her daughter, Isobel, was on 15th September 2009 when it was discovered she had Type 1 Diabetes. After being introduced by Bexhill Rotarian Perry Puddefoot, Allison revealed that she was an ex belly dancer, an ex nurse and had recently completed the Hastings half marathon to raise funds for JDRF. She explained that even experts don’t know what actually causes diabetes but ‘sufferers’ like her daughter must have insulin injections daily (maximum 6 per day) for the rest of their lives. When Isobel, Allison’s daughter, was first diagnosed, neither party had ever heard of JDRF which is an international charity with no government funding that exists to improve lives and to curing Type 1 Diabetes. Allison then continued to tell Isobel’s touching story with much passion and humour despite all the ups and downs, she talked about her daily injections (Isobel is now jokingly referred to as the ‘pin cushion’), about having to count the carbohydrates when she sees a plate of food, and she introduced the Rotarians to Rufus the teddy bear mascot who was presented to Isobel in a special bag in the early stages by JDRF. Allison said that, despite the trials and tribulations of life with a diabetic, the important thing is to stay positive as lots of factors can affect blood sugar levels, not just food it could even be the weather! Fortunately, Isobel has been very brave throughout and, after the initial shock of knowing she had Type 1 Diabetes, she has come to terms with the life she now has and accepts with good grace all the things that she has had to endure in recent years.
Allison, who is rightly proud of Isobel’s achievements and progress, is now setting her sights on taking part in a 100 mile ultra-marathon in October to raise even more funds for JDRF.
Amid spontaneous and hearty applause after Bexhill Rotarian Keith Walter had thanked Allison for such an inspirational talk, and she had answered questions from the floor, President John Cooper presented Allison with a cheque for JDRF, one of his chosen charities in his presidential year. John said, “We had originally planned to present a cheque for £300 but, because of the huge success of the Ale & Arty Beer & Music Festival in March where JDRF was one of the main charitable beneficiaries, we have instead decided to give £1,000!” In thanking Bexhill Rotary Club for this generous donation Allison admitted that this was the very first time she had stood up in public to talk about Type 1 Diabetes and Isobel’s story! To find out all about JDRF’s 40 year history and how to donate to and help its valuable work and research, go to the website www.jdrf.org.uk. If you want to know how to get involved with Bexhill Rotary Club and its charities and activities, then all you have to do is log on to www.bexhil.rotaryweb.org.