Derry woman Lily O’Donnell has been awarded the Diabetes UK Medal after it emerged that she has been managing her condition for 70 years.
Lily, a resident of Brooklands Nursing Home Derry, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was just nine years of age.
Speaking about her award, Lily said; “Over the years all my consultants and health care professionals were so good to me, I always got the best treatment.
“I am so honoured and pleased to receive this UK Diabetes Medal today, thank you!”
In the early stages of Lily’s diagnosis, the availability of technical equipment to aid her management was scarce.
Everything from her daily routine to her diet had to be strictly monitored, with a fixed insulin dose regularly each day.
Her insulin was administered via large glass syringes and needles that had to be sterilised for each single use. At the time insulin was a relatively new drug as it was only developed around 80 years ago, and knowledge and information was limited.
As a young girl, Lily was not allowed any of her favourite sweets, chocolates, biscuits or treats.
As Lily’s life progressed she was supported by local healthcare professionals. In recent years she was under the attentive care of Western Trust Diabetes consultants and specialist nurses.
She also had the support of her loving husband Tommy, who sadly passed away a few years ago.
The Diabetes UK medal recognises the courage and perseverance of living with diabetes.
Maurice O’Kane, Consultant Chemical Pathologist with Western Health and Social Care Trust said of Lily’s achievement:
“Lily has had Type 1 diabetes since childhood with her treatment entailing daily injections of insulin and careful attention to her diet. Hailed as a miracle drug, patients who suffered this condition before the introduction of insulin died soon after their diagnosis.”
Maurice continued; “Lily has been taking daily insulin injections for the last 70 years and I congratulate her for looking after her diabetes so well for so many years - a truly wonderful achievement.”