Kellion medal day – it remains the most hopeful day of the year. And yesterday, I was lucky enough to attend what I fondly refer to as ‘The Most Hopeful Day of the Year’.

As is typical at these events, once the formalities are over, I find myself gravitating to those in the room who have been awarded their medal for living an extraordinary number of years with diabetes. It’s almost as though I want to stand close enough to them to learn everything they know. Just being in their presence is awe-inspiring, even though they would say that all they re doing is living their lives – lives impacted every single day by diabetes. But to me, these people somehow seem magical and I want to understand how to be too.

A diabetes diagnosis fifty years ago (or sixty, seventy, eighty years ago) was very different to one today. Or event twenty years ago for that matter. The devices, education and information that is available today was very, very different. To see people who not only survived with diabetes, but lived their very best lives with it, in times of the most basic of treatment options, is remarkable.

The people in this photo are my peers. They have walked the path I am walking ahead of me and are more than happy to tell their stories. I listen to every word, hoping to unlock some of the secrets to how they have managed for so long with diabetes. My pitiful twenty years of type 1 simply affords me ‘still a newbie’ status; I have nothing remotely useful to share  – I can offer nothing. So I listen. I ask questions. I watch.

It is an honour  to attend the Kellion Victory Medal Award Ceremony each year. And to stand amongst the medalists is a privilege I will never, ever take for granted.

‘That’s a lot of diabetes’. (L-R: 60 years, 70 years, 20 years, 51 years, 42 years of living with type 1.)