Local schoolchildren joined University of Oxford researchers and diabetes patients to mark World Diabetes Day on Wednesday, but forming a blue circle around the famous Triton statue in the Radcliffe Observatory quarter.
The awareness-raising event was organised by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre’s Diabetes theme.
The children, from St Andrew’s C of E school, joined people living with diabetes and university staff to make a living blue circle, pictured right, around the fountain outside the old main entrance of the Radcliffe Infirmary, now the University of Oxford Humanities building.
The theme for this year’s WDD was ‘the Family and Diabetes’, with the aim of increasing the understanding of the impact that diabetes has on the family and support network of those affected, and to promote the role of the family in diabetes management, care and prevention, and education about diabetes.
Dr Katharine Owen, OUH diabetes consultant and associate professor at the university’s Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (OCDEM), said: “There are over 30,000 people in Oxfordshire who’ve got diabetes, and we look after a lot of them at our diabetes centre at the Churchill Hospital. We want those people to take part in diabetes research to provide new treatments and to make life easier for people with diabetes.
Pat Mooney, from Cheltenham, is a patient with Type 1 diabetes who used to work at the Radcliffe Infirmary and the John Radcliffe Hospital. “I love coming back to Oxford. Events like today are fantastic. It’s an unusual condition and there’s so much misunderstanding about it, so it’s important to keep it in people’s minds.
Marco Pontecorvi, OCDEM’s scientific manager, who organised the event, said: “Diabetes is spreading; at the moment we have a prediction of half a billion people diagnosed with diabetes within the next 10 or 15 years.
“One of the things we can do is to raise awareness in general, and more importantly raise awareness in the next generation. That’s why we decided to invite local students here; their behaviour will affect the possibility of them having diabetes in future, so we are giving them tips about healthy living and healthy eating habits.”