Report to Members on National Diabetes Week

Story Bridge


There was a full moon rising when about 80 Diabetes Queensland members and supporters climbed Brisbane's Story Bridge, which was lit blue for the night to mark National Diabetes Week (July 14-20).


Generously sponsored by Abbott, the climb helped keep the spotlight on our members and their journeys with diabetes.


It was just one event in a busy week that was launched by a special Kellion ceremony where Dr Alan Stocks AM and 22 other people received their Kellion Victory Medal for living 50, 60 and 70 years with type 1 diabetes.


The morning tea also marked Dr Stocks' retirement from the Kellion Foundation. He was central to founding the Kellion Medals based on a similar idea in the US.


Dr Stocks' friend and colleague, Dr Neill Decker, told the crowd that Dr Stocks has administered the key verification and eligibility of the Kellion Victory Medals Scheme for 35 years. In that time, there have been nearly 2000 medal recipients, with Dr Stocks as the sole administrator.


"A major Australian Research Program is to be established in his name and is to be funded by the Kellion Diabetes Foundation and Diabetes Australia," Dr Decker said.


"This new research program, called the Dr Alan Stocks Kellion Victory Medallist Research Program, will help the diabetes movement to better understand how people with diabetes in Australia can live well and long."


Diabetes Queensland President Craig Beyers and CEO Sturt Eastwood were at the event to thank Dr Stocks on behalf of members for his huge contribution and many years of dedication, as well as to congratulate the other Kellion winners.


It was the start of a busy week for Sturt. He recorded interviews throughout each of Queensland's media regions and provided local statistics and a media release about the number of Potentially Preventable Hospitalisations and people with diabetes in local government areas including: Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Gladstone, the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Mount Isa, the Gold Coast, Fraser Coast, Stanthorpe and Toowoomba. We recorded media hits in daily newspapers, radio and regional TV news bulletins across the state.


A news item on Sunday night across most TV stations of Diabetes Australia's media conference to launch the week nationally highlighted the fact that people with diabetes account for one-third of hospitalisations in Australia. 


Sturt was also quoted in the Courier Mail for a story about one of the Diabetes Australia Research Trust (DART) grant winners, Professor Jeff Coombes, and his research with personalised exercise and type 2 diabetes. The four Queensland DART winners' achievements were highlighted in the state's first DART awards ceremony, which was held after the Story Bridge climb. Click here to read more about the research projects which your support has made possible.


Diabetes Queensland promoted each of these events through social media including Facebook and Twitter, which recorded increases of engagement of 380 percent and 1,200 percent respectively compared with the previous week.


Part of our job is making sure as many people as possible know about diabetes, so the public and decision makers such as politicians keep in mind we are a community that needs their support. Leveraging social media traffic from events is one way we can spread awareness.


Social media doesn't just happen. As some of us were at a Diabetes Queensland-Abbott education session on flash glucose monitoring, others were filming at the Story Bridge, and one staffer stood at the cliffs above Howard's Wharf to get the best picture of the Story Bridge lit blue.


While there, she talked members of a photography club who were also taking pictures into sending us their best photos for use. One of their offerings fronts this report.


"Think of it as a donation to a special cause," one of the photographers said in his email the following day.


We did, gratefully.

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