World Diabetes Day Kellion awards

All Kellions

The Kellion Awards for Queensland was held on 12 November - in time to mark World Diabetes Day 2017 on 14 November.


What is the Kellion Awards?


The gathering of Kellion Victory Medal recipients, hosted by Diabetes Queensland to mark National Diabetes Week, was held at the Kedron-Wavell Services Club.


The medals were presented by Dr Alan Stocks AM of the Kellion Diabetes Foundation.


Rosalind Foran - 70 years of diabetes

Rosalind Forantn

Seventy years after she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a 14-month-old baby, Newmarket's Rosalind Foran has received a medal to mark the occasion.


"I was so fortunate to have had amazing parents who sought the best medical attention for me," Rosalind says today.


"My mother persevered to get a diagnosis for me, and changed the family doctor knowing something was terribly wrong."


Rosalind thanked renowned Brisbane doctors Otto Hirschfeld and his son Brian, and Neville Anderson for steering her in the right direction.


"There have been other doctors over the years and I thank them all for helping me."


Rosalind thanked her husband of nearly 50 years whom she described as her "bedrock" and their two children.


"They grew up having to deal with the smell of insulin, syringes and coping with very regular meal times!"


Julie Baxter - 50 years with diabetes

Julie Baxtertn

Fifty years after she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Carseldine's Julie Baxter has received a medal to mark the occasion.


"I was diagnosed in high school when I had teeth out that would not heal," Julie said.


"In the early days I used to boil my needles, store them in metho, and do urine tests with clinitest tablets."


Julie has two surviving children after she lost two boys due to premature labour. Her eldest son, Michael, was diagnosed with diabetes when he was three years old. In 2002, Julie had a kidney transplant but is now on dialysis.


Julie said she is thankful for the help she has received throughout the years.


"I am grateful and give thanks today that Diabetes Queensland is awarding me my 50-year Silver Kellion medal.


"It means a lot to me."


June Barnett - 50 years with diabetes

 June Barnetttn

Fifty years after she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a 23 year old, Highland Park's June Barnett has received a medal to mark the occasion.


"Initially, I thought I was pregnant. I went to the doctor expecting good news and instead was told to pack a bag for hospital," June said.


"When I was diagnosed with diabetes, I remember arguing with the doctor. I would have done anything rather than be on insulin because I was terrified of needles."


June thanked the care and support she has received through the years from various dedicated health carers.


"In particular, the Princess Alexandra Hospital and Dr Claire Sullivan have been exceptional and greatly enhanced my quality of life.


"I am immensely grateful."


 "I have lived a full life and I made sure to take care of my health and myself so that I could be a great mother for my two children."


Laurie Pitman - 50 years with diabetes

Laurence Pitmantn 

Fifty years after he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a 21-year-old, Capalaba's Laurence Pitman has received a medal to mark the occasion.


"The first feeling I had something wrong was when I was constantly thirsty, drinking tea, soft drink, water and soda stream drinks," Laurie said.


"I was working on Dad's farm doing various jobs including tractor work, loading bags of onions and irrigation work. While chipping rows of onions, at the end of a 150 metre row, I had to turn away and urinate, then I'd drink on the way back up again.


"I was always lacking energy and felt lethargic."


Laurie started using an insulin pump in 2007, and two years ago had a Continuous Glucose Meter (CGM) fitted. He says the combination is a lifesaver.


"It's fantastic in many ways especially halting basal delivery when blood glucose levels drop dangerously when sleeping."


Although there have been challenges in his career because of diabetes, Laurie and his wife Leonie are now "attempting to cover the earth before it covers us" and travel whenever possible.


"The help given to me by Leonie in the past 17 years has enabled me to maintain reasonably good health. Having a caring partner is vitally important for those living with a chronic illness.


Margaret Leary - 50 years with diabetes

Margaret Learytn

Fifty years after she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Carina's Margaret Leary has received a medal to mark the occasion.


"I don't remember too much about the early days of being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes except I had to boil needles and store them in a container of metho," Margaret said.


"I also had to boil my urine with a tablet and see what colour it went.


"It was all quite confusing for a little girl."


"Only the good Lord above knows how I survived my turbulent teenager years as I was too busy trying to prove that being a diabetic did not make me any different to anyone else," Margaret said.


"When I finally met my now husband, John saw no problem with me having diabetes. He is colour blind.


"I learned to accept myself and started a completely new life.


"I give a lot of credit for my success in living with diabetes to my husband who knows my signs and symptoms better than I do."


If that doctor could see Marlene now!

Marlene Lobweintn

Fifty years after she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Camira's Marlene Lobwein has received a medal to mark the occasion.


"My mother knew something was wrong when I was 15 months old," Marlene said.


"The first doctor Mum took me to told her to take a good, long look at her daughter as I would not live to be two.


"He also asked that she didn't bring me back to him. 'I don't have the knowledge or the time. No babies that young survive diabetes'."


"Thank goodness my mother was a very stubborn and pigheaded woman. She took me to St Vincent's Hospital in Toowoomba where the doctors were conducting experimental trials on babies with diabetes to try to improve their survival."


It worked. Today, Marlene describes herself as a living, walking pincushion.


"I've had more than 73,000 needles in my life, probably more than less. If you look after yourself with diabetes, you can achieve a very happy, healthy life.


"I have travelled the world extensively with my husband Philip over the past 30 years and look forward to many more trips in the years to come," Marlene said.


"Now bring on the future and more discoveries in the treatment or for a cure for type 1 diabetes.


"I want to still be around when a cure is found." 


Nicolla Picot - 50 years with diabetes

Nicola Picottn

Fifty years after she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Crestmead's Nicolla Picot has received a medal to mark the occasion.


"I was diagnosed two days after my brother was born in Brighton, England," Nicolla said.


"My family and I were granted permission to immigrate to Australia in 1970, which was a wonderful opportunity for us all to live in the "lucky country."


Nicolla was one of the first people in Australia to get a blood glucose machine, which dispensed with urine tests.


"It took 20 minutes to warm up and then about five minutes to get a result. Around this time, I transferred from the glass syringes that we boiled in a saucepan plus the huge needles to the disposable syringes we can use today," Nicolla said.


"Now I use a pen and the needles are very fine and disposable. Treatment has become much easier."


Nicolla said she would not have achieved 50 years with diabetes if not for her parents.


"I tried their patience many times. At the time I did not want to know why they were so strict. It was for my own good.


"Look where I am now. If not for their care, I wouldn't be as healthy as I am. No glaucoma, I still have healthy kidneys, and no amputations.


"I thank them for my early care and my health today."


Ray Brown - 50 years with diabetes

Raymond Browntn

Stafford's Ray Brown was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after being bitten by a black snake.


As a four year old living in Monto, Ray was the second eldest of seven children, six boys and one girl.


"The snake bite was serious," Ray said. "I was in hospital for over a month and received the last rites twice.


"There was talk of amputation of my leg because it was infected. At 20, when I was diagnosed with diabetes, Mum always said it was the snake bite that gave me diabetes."


Fifty years after he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Ray has received a medal to mark the occasion.


Ray thanked his wife Merrell at the Kellion ceremony.


"I attribute my reaching this milestone to the loving care of my wife," he told the audience.


Robert McCulloch - 50 years with diabetes

Robert Mccullochtn

Fifty years after he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Taringa's Robert McCulloch has received a medal to mark the occasion.


As a young man, Robert graduated from university as a chemical engineer, married Judith, and moved to Mackay for his first job.


In October 1967, he visited a GP with a badly infected toe. In December, he became very thirsty while driving to Brisbane on holidays. Before Christmas, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.


"I recall that the big news at the time was the disappearance of Prime Minister Harold Holt," Robert said.


"I know now that my GP in Mackay should have checked for diabetes as I was displaying recognisable symptoms."


A keen sportsman, Robert played cricket, tennis and squash, and completed a marathon in Melbourne. He and Judith have three children and five grandchildren. None have diabetes.


Sandra Griffith - 50 years with diabetes

Sandra Griffithtn

Fifty years after she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Gin Gin's Sandra Griffith has received a medal to mark the occasion.


"I was taken ill when I was 19 and diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. My maternal grandmother also had type 1," Sandra said.


"I was a professional dancer and had many difficulties coping with diabetes. I always had to get a friend to keep an eye on me while I was on stage in case my blood sugar dipped low. She'd watch for a signal and have a sugary drink waiting for me when I came off."


Sandra said through the years she has suffered damage to her eyes, loss of feeling in both legs and feet, a stroke, heart attack, and double pneumonia.


"But I am still going strong. I love life."


Sheila Crisp - 50 years with diabetes

Sheila Crisptn

Fifty years after she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Burpengary's Sheila Crisp has received a medal to mark the occasion.


"On diagnosis, I was in hospital for about two weeks and was then transferred to a children's nursing home to learn how to give myself injections," Sheila said.


"I was very nervous about it until I saw a four-year-old boy jab in his needle and walk away with no nerves or hesitation.


"I thought, 'I can do this, too!' And so I have for 50 years."


Sheila said living with diabetes has caused good and bad times.


"You have to be aware of what to eat and drink, and then everything needs to be in moderation," Sheila said.


"Healthy living and exercise has certainly helped me live with this condition for 50 years without complications, together with a loving husband who has looked after me for 42 years."


Sheryl Kopp - 50 years with diabetes

Sheryl Kopptn

Fifty years after she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Middle Park's Sheryl Kopp has received a medal to mark the occasion.


"I remember my mother crying on the way to the hospital when I was diagnosed at 9. All she knew about diabetes was that the lady down the road who had diabetes lost her leg and died," Sheryl said.


Sheryl was very grateful to all her doctors and made special mention of Dr Brian Hirschfeld, "my best carer and friend throughout my diabetic life.


"He never charged my parents or myself a cent out of our own pockets," Sheryl said.


"Thanks to the wonderful care I received from all my doctors, I have a healthy son and daughter and I'm now blessed with a beautiful granddaughter."


Tom Usher- 50 years with diabetes

Thomas Ushertn

Fifty years after he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Chapel Hill's Thomas Usher has received a medal to mark the occasion.


Tom was a 17 year old student at an Agricultural College in South Australia when he was first diagnosed.


"Despite clearly understanding that I had a condition that had no cure, and that I would live with for the rest of my life, I accepted my situation with good grace and got on with life without many negative thoughts and a clear sense I had to take responsibility for my life.


"At the time, I was the only person who could do this seriously."


That journey was about to be shared.


"I met a beautiful young lady called Pam Cummings who was full of life and sparked my interest deeply.


"We married in 1972 and she embraced my life with diabetes wholeheartedly. She has shared all but two years of my diabetes journey."


"I think the most important change in the treatment of diabetes has been the introduction of small, portable blood glucose monitors.


"They have helped me manage my condition so much more easily. Regular running and other physical activity most of my life has resulted in me at 69 with no complications from diabetes."Tom thanked his wife Pam, their two children Kerrie and Adam, and a nine-year-old granddaughter for their physical and emotional help.


"I'm grateful to have had my family team there as a backup, and I'm glad I've had Pam with me to help me on my journey."  


Trevor Corbell marks 51 years with diabetes

Trevor Corbelltn

Eagleby's Trevor Corbell has spent many of the 51 years he has lived with type 1 diabetes fighting for a fairer deal for all Australians with the condition.


Diagnosed in Adelaide when he was 21 years old, Trevor worked in a variety of positions including at the Woomera Rocket Range and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in Canberra, before joining the board of Diabetes Australia and quickly becoming Diabetes Australia ACT President.


"By the time I was 50, I thought that I could make a contribution to other people with diabetes.


"I hadn't looked after myself very well while I was in Canberra, and I ended up having stents and then bypass surgery for cardio-arterial blockages.


"After I recovered, I wanted to make a contribution to the people and the system that were looking after me."


Trevor also served on the Diabetes Australia National Board before becoming the national advocacy manager, where he lobbied minsters, MPs and senators.


"Through the advocacy work, I quickly became aware of the challenges facing young children and teenagers. While there were emotional issues, it was obvious that some people were struggling to access what they needed because of cost."


Two of the issues Trevor helped steer to victory were the inclusion of lantus (long acting) insulin on the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and making insulin pump consumables free, two measures which have helped ease the financial burden on people with diabetes.


The man who finished his career after a five-year stint as a councillor and Deputy Mayor on the Mt Barker District Council in the Adelaide Hills in 2015 has now settled in a retirement village in Eagleby.


"I love it here. The weather is wonderful!"


"Although I enjoy being retired, I miss making a contribution. Hopefully we achieved something along the way. You do what you can and if it satisfies people, that's a plus. At least you can say at the end of the day, I gave it a go."


Wayne Willey - 50 years with diabetes

Wayne Willeytn 

Fifty years after he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Woodgate's Wayne Willey has received a medal to mark the occasion.


"I was 12 years old and due to start my first year of high school when without warning and over the course of about a week I lost about a stone (6 kilograms).


"I was unable to quench my continuous thirst and was urinating hourly, day and night."


Wayne was admitted to the Mater Hospital where he and one other boy were in a ward with sick men, one of whom died on Wayne's first night.


"Very daunting for a 12-year-old," Wayne said.


Wayne made special mention of Drs Brian Hirschfeld and Alan Stocks.


"Their understanding, patience and perseverance has no doubt helped to get me to this 50-year milestone."


He also spoke lovingly of his wife Lynda, two sons, four granddaughters and one grandson.


"My wife, kids and grandkids are now my incentive to continue to keep my diabetes under control. I want to be around to collect my 60th and 70th awards, and I hope to meet some great grandchildren in the future."

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