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Qld diabetes legend walks the walk on Great Ocean Road Trek

John Jerrard, 78, has dedicated much of his life to giving the very best support, advice and care to our diabetes community.

 

Now living in Ormiston on the Bay south of Brisbane, the retired pharmacist has seen a great deal of change in diabetes treatment since he bought a pharmacy in the early 1970s.

 

"I purchased Huxham's Pharmacy at the Grange in 1971 and developed type 1 diabetes in 1972," says John.

 

"My introduction to insulin and stabilisation took about ten days in hospital, and I was discharged on a once daily dose of Soluble and PZI insulins.

 

"It was very restrictive, with a daily rigid routine of diet and activity. We could only do urine testing and I experienced frequent hypos."

 

At the urging of John's wife, Joan, he consulted Dr Alan Stocks in 1974.

 

"At Dr Stocks' advice, I switched to pork insulins Isophane and Regular, and four injections daily. My body felt the improvements straight away."

 

In 1978, Alan was importing Glucochek B.G. monitors from the United Kingdom and passing them on at cost price to interested patients.

 

"In my opinion, these monitors were the most important advancement in diabetes management since the discovery of insulin," says John. 

 

"Dr Stocks mentioned that he was not really into the business of importing and distribution, and that a lot of patients needed help and education. This planted the idea that we could become more involved in diabetes management.

 

"My partner at Huxham's Pharmacy, Richard Harvey, and I registered as the first 'Diabetic Care Centre' in Queensland. We attended lectures, seminars and nurse educator courses to ensure that any information we shared was the best possible at that time.

 

"U100 came on the scene and its impact was huge in that patients were asked to bring in their old insulins and their current syringes so that the present dosage could be maintained.

 

"The variety of reusable glass syringes and needles was amazing and translating the dose of U40/U80 in a 2.5ml hypodermic to U100 in a 1ml limited dead space disposable took some explanation.

 

"Not everyone was pleased, of course, with some saying, 'I've being doing it this way for 20 years, why do I have to change?'

 

"I want to express my gratitude to GPs, endocrinologists, hospital allied staff and many pharmaceutical suppliers who aided this most satisfying part of my career."

 

Still driven to support Queensland's diabetes community, John is participating in this year's Great Ocean Road Trek in October.

 

Now in its fifth year, the trek covers 100km from Apollo Bay to the 12 Apostles and raises vital funds and awareness for diabetes.

 

John currently walks around 10km every day and will be adding in hills and steps in preparation as October draws closer.

 

The terrain from day to day varies greatly on the trek, with walking tracks through the bush, in rainforests, along the beach, across creeks, on boardwalks and up steps.

 

Spectacular views and native wildlife are just some of the highlights. But it's a tough walk; the days are around 20km each with plenty of valleys and hills to conquer.

 

Participants are faced with immense physical and emotional challenges, but the trek is made easier with accommodation, catering, airport transfers and bus shuttles all included.

 

Additionally, the Great Ocean Road Trek has been improved for 2019, with detailed track notes and maps, a shortened distance on day three and the introduction of a health professional as a co-leader.

 

Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Ashley Baveas, is bringing her knowledge of exercise, health and diabetes to better support participants.

 

Past trekkers have described the experience as "amazing", "a great achievement", "loved it all", "once-in-a-lifetime", "wonderful", and of course, "challenging!"

 

"To any of our erstwhile clients from the clinic, can I just say 'g'day' and hope you are in good health, and if you are, why not join me in walking this iconic Great Ocean Road Trek?" said John.

 

"It's a bucket list item of mine and I would welcome your company.

 

"Hopefully, we can raise some serious funds for the continued research that has achieved so much to our benefit in our lifetime. All donations are tax deductible. 

 

"Wouldn't it be great if the leading CGM manufacturer could donate a reader and, say, a year's supply of consumables for us to raffle? I have no doubt it would be a winner!"

 

Would you like to join John on this year's trek?

 

Click here to download your Great Ocean Road Trek information pack or get in touch with our fundraising team by calling 1800 177 055 or email fundraising@diabetesqld.org.au.

 

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