Winners are grinners at Kellion Victory Medal


Mere-Lyn Paterson with husband Ian, both from Carseldine, and their two daughters, Nicole Bradford (left) and Kylie Bentley at the presentation of her Diabetes Queensland Kellion Victory medal to start National Diabetes Week. Mere-Lyn was recognised for living 60 years with type 1 diabetes.


Twelve people who have lived with diabetes for a total of 710 years had at least two things in common when they gathered with their families to receive their Kellion Victory Medals.


Firstly, they have had insulin injections at least daily for more than 50 years. Secondly, they all thanked their loving families for helping them.


Carol Thompson (70 years) from Mitchelton, Inna Basman from Wishart (60 years), Ronald Groth from Mudgeeraba (60 years), Mere-Lyn Paterson from Carseldine (60 years), Jo-Ann Willersdorf from Churchill (60 years), Roslyn Cameron (50 years) from Robina, Robert Hodge (50 years) from Carindale, Margaret Morton (50 years) from Carseldine, Robert Rowe (50 years) from Newmarket, Judith Rush (50 years) from Boondall, Lynley Walker (50 years) from Waterford, and Theresa Wardle (50 years) from Brighton were this year's honourees.


IMG_0494_WardleTheresa Wardle and her son Sean, both from Brighton, celebrate Theresa receiving a Diabetes Queensland Kellion Victory medal for living 50 years with type 1 diabetes. Theresa, 73, is still working part-time caring for a person with quadriplegia. 


Their individual speeches put paid to the myth that ease breeds happiness. Ron Groth, who was forced to retire early in 1992, told how working with large machinery became a danger because of his uncontrolled and unpredictable hypos. Ron, his wife Gail and daughter Belinda spent the event beaming at each other and anyone else lucky enough to spend time with them.


Inna Basman, an immigrant from Georgia in the former USSR, thanked Australia for allowing her to emigrate and have access to the latest medical advances, Theresa Wardle thanked God and Jesus for helping her every moment of every day, and all thanked their families, both present and deceased, who have taken such great care of them.


"We've got a life sentence, not a death sentence," Mere-Lyn Paterson told the audience.


Carol Thompson said the day made her reflect on some of her type 1 friends who haven't lived long lives, and sharpened her gratitude for the advances in medical treatments and her "dear family".


"See you in another 10 years," Ros Cameron said.


Jo-Ann Willersdorf remembered a particularly awful cake her loving mother had driven 45 minutes to buy, advertised as a diabetic cake. "Yuk!"




Diabetes Queensland President Craig Beyers (left), Dr Alan Stocks AM from the Kellion Diabetes Foundation (right) and the recipients. 


Margaret Morton hopes the Government will see fit to give everyone access to Continuous Glucose Monitoring, "which is expensive for people over the age of 18".


Robert Hodge remembered his brother, the policeman, who didn't rescue him from the watch house after he was mistakenly arrested for drunkenness during a hypo, Judith Rush told the story of her dairy farmer Dad who sharpened her insulin needles when they became blunt if their access to town was blocked, and Lynley Walker thanked everyone involved in "caring for my fellow diabetics and me".


"I'm doing my best, and that's all you can do," Robert Rowe said.


Diabetes Queensland staff were out in force to volunteer at the celebrations as the joy, sense of victory, and love that infuses these ceremonies make it one of the most inspiring days in the diabetes calendar.


Also present were Dr Alan Stocks AM from the Kellion Diabetes Foundation who presented the medals, Dr Brian Hirschfeld, and Dr Margaret Williamson, who attended the event to support one of her grateful patients, Mere-Lyn Paterson. Diabetes Queensland President Craig Beyers also attended.


The event is staged biannually by Diabetes Queensland, with the July ceremony marking the start of National Diabetes Week. It was held at the Kedron-Wavell Services Club in Brisbane.


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