We chatted to community inspiration Veronica Vember about how she changes lives, one step at a time.
What got you interested in diabetes at first?
It all started whilst working in the vascular unit at Kingsbury Hospital. I realised that most people are not informed about managing diabetes after being diagnosed. So I became passionate in the control of potential complications, and Kingsbury management identified my passion and allowed me to do the vascular course in London as it’s not offered here. On my return, I did two presentations at the doctors academic meetings. At the time my husband had a myocardial infarction and had been diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes. The entire experience stimulated me to get involved with my community. Now my husband is one of the volunteers. I then started doing motivational talks at schools, groups, on radio and at our nursing college.
How did you start your community group?
I joined the Strandfontein Health Forum and offered to do the diabetes awareness events as there was no project as such. With the awareness held at the Strandfontein Clinic I handed out questionnaires and a suggestion box. The community asked for a diabetic support group: that’s what started it.
What keeps you inspired?
The positive attitude and enthusiasm of the volunteers, and noticing the excitement of the attendees. When we take a break, people want to know when we’ll be starting again. The continuous support of ‘diabetes life’ (a diabetic clinic at Kingsbury hospital) under the management of endocrinologist Dr May, Dr Tracy van Rensburg and nurse educator Sr. Dee Ferguson (my mentor). Positive feedback from the doctors at the day hospitals where the clients attend also keeps me going.
You were voted one of the Western Cape’s Lead SA heroes – how did this make you feel?
Surprised, shocked, emotional, confused and thankful towards the responsible person for the recognition. I’m very proud of the team of dedicated volunteer attendees as I can’t do this alone. It’s a team effort – unity is strength.
What advice do you offer your support group members when they are struggling?
To persevere, not to give up, not to give in, to be compliant, to attend the support group regularly. We do individual counselling and have a communication box available for constructive comments and replies.
How do you make diabetes inspiring?
We create a harmonious atmosphere: a safe environment with easy accessibility, clean, functional equipment and competent staff. We vary programs, presentations, literature, topics and menus (soup in winter and tea and a snack in summer). We also combine our decision making with the volunteers.
What makes your life sweet?
Carrying out our mission, vision and outcome.
S – be sensitive towards all
W – warn people about the consequences of not being compliant
E – educate people regarding a healthy lifestyle and change of mindset
E – be empathetic and empower people with knowledge
T – to be trained, to train others
To ensure that all community members are well informed, and reach and maintain normal glucose levels.
Get in touch with Veronica: Strandfontein Diabetic Support Group on Facebook
Indigenous Afro-Soul artist Candy Tsamandebele talks to us about living with Type 2 diabetes.
When did you find out you had Type 2 diabetes?
After the death of my son through an accident. It was unexpected to say the least.
Was it a shock?
Yes it was.
How did you have to adapt your lifestyle?
I started with what I ate and drank. It was difficult at first, but with time I got used to it. Secondly, my lifestyle all together.
How do you balance a busy lifestyle with eating well and exercise?
Sticking to a strict diet. Also understanding the consequences of ignoring that diet.
What advice would you offer to those living with diabetes?
Just take it one step at a time. Take your medications on time and eat healthy.
What makes your life sweet?
Music. It really does.
Some background on Candy and her outreach work:
August 2, 2011 was one of Candy Tsamandebele’s most trying times in her life when she lost her son in a car accident. Six months later she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Not one to be kept down, two years after the trauma, Candy garnered strength to launch CANDY TSAMANDEBELE FOUNDATION. She uses the foundation to teach young women and the youth in general about values and it is her vehicle to drive and leave behind a legacy as she continues to grow in the music industry.
The main aim of the Candy Tsamandebele Foundation was to teach kids about music, the importance of culture, significance of language, youth development, medical assistance, helping with school uniforms to needy, and several other initiatives that are close to her heart.
Every year Candy Tsamandebele dedicates her time to carry out community building initiatives such as visiting schools and donating school uniforms, as well as motivating the youth both in and out of school. She encourages young people to use their natural abilities and talents to make it through life. During her motivations, she always talks about the importance of getting tested for diabetes and other chronic conditions and adhering to taking treatment once diagnosed.
Since she was diagnosed with diabetes, Candy Tsamandebele has made it her mission to be a national diabetes warrior. She is a force to be reckoned with and she will stop at nothing for as long as she is needed to make a difference.
Find out more at www.candytsamandebelesa.com
From the artificial pancreas to new ways of testing blood sugar and more, we take a look at the future for those with diabetes.
Diabetes is a rollercoaster ride of blood sugar ups and downs, and tight control can be hard work. But there’s good news: while some researchers are working on a cure, others are making life easier for those with diabetes right now, through technology.
Carine Visagie brings you a roundup of the top new technologies out there.
Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices are soon going to take blood sugar control to another level.
With the help of tiny electrodes stuck beneath the skin, CGM devices allow for real-time glucose readings throughout the day. The results are sent wirelessly to a monitor you can clip onto your belt and access on the go, and some devices can even send results to your doctor. Normal finger prick testing is still required (for a double check and to calibrate the CGM sensor), but you can rest assured that a CGM device will alert you if your sugar spikes or drops below your limits.
Examples include the Flash Glucose Monitoring System (Abbott) and the Guardian REAL-Time Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (Medtronic).
Ask the expert: Dr Joel Dave, endocrinologist
“24-hour glucose monitoring is going to be very helpful in patients that have difficulty controlling their blood glucose levels, as it will provide a 24-hour 360-degree view of their diabetes control.”
Ask the expert: Dr Wayne May, endocrinologist
“I’m looking forward to the Abbotts Flash Monitor, as it will stay on for 14 days and doesn’t require calibrating with a second machine.”
Insulin pumps keep getting smarter: some of the latest ones sync with CGM devices, while others are incredibly accurate at giving just the right insulin dose at the right time.
One example is the touch-screen Tandem t:slim insulin pump, which shows the date, time, how much insulin is ‘on board’ (seeing this before you bolus can help you avoid stacking your insulin*), duration of insulin action, and the amount of insulin in the reservoir. It looks like a smartphone and data is easily transferrable via a USB port. Plus, it can deliver insulin in very small doses.
*Insulin stacking is injecting a second dose too soon after a first, without taking into account the insulin already in your system. This can result in low blood sugar.
Another insulin pump to watch is the MiniMed530G by Medtronic – the first pump to shut off when blood sugar goes below a predetermined level.
Ask the expert: Dr Joel Dave, endocrinologist
“Although an insulin pump isn’t the ideal way of administering insulin for everyone, many diabetics find a pump improves their diabetes control and quality of life. Since the addition of CGM, the use of this technology has improved even more, especially in children and patients with very erratic blood sugar.”
Bionic (artificial) pancreas systems are the next big thing in diabetes management. These systems, the first of which is still being tested, combine the latest CGM tech with the most advanced insulin pump tech and add a sophisticated computer programme to simulate the function of the pancreas.
The system constantly checks blood sugar levels by means of a CGM, and responds automatically by administering either insulin (to lower blood sugar) or glucagon (to raise blood sugar levels quickly) via two separate pumps. The system hooks up to a programme on your smartphone that makes decisions every few minutes, telling the pumps via Bluetooth how much hormone to deliver.
The bionic pancreas should be available in the next 5 years.
Ask the expert: Dr Joel Dave, endocrinologist
“The artificial pancreas has been the ‘holy grail’ for diabetes care for many years. The system has been vastly improved and early studies are showing great promise. Although not for routine clinical use at the moment, in the near future it will be a life-changing addition to the diabetes care of many patients.”
What about now? Smartphone apps for diabetes
If the future of diabetes tech seems too far away, keep an eye out for apps that can help you deal with diabetes right now, on your smartphone. We like:
Glucose Buddy: to track blood sugar readings, insulin doses, carb intake, exercise, blood pressure and weight, and
Diabetic Connect: helping you tap into trusted advice, friends, support and tips.
But be warned: many international apps use mg/dL, the US blood glucose standard, instead of mmol/l, the South African standard.
You might not think puppies, baby goats, hedgehogs and pre-diabetes have anything in common… But you’d be mistaken! This brilliant campaign highlights the risks of pre-diabetes, a condition that indicates a person is on the path to developing Type 2 diabetes.
Here’s the explanation:
More than one in three adults have pre-diabetes and are at a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Of those individuals, 90% don’t even know they have pre-diabetes.
A first-of-its-kind PSA campaign from the Ad Council brings together the American Diabetes Association, American Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the ultimate goal of reducing the incidence of Type 2 diabetes. Anyone can find out where they stand with pre-diabetes in just one minute by taking a quick pre-diabetes risk test.
The spots offer viewers a “perfect way to spend a minute” where they can learn where they stand by taking the one-minute pre-diabetes risk test while also doing something everyone loves — watching adorable animal videos.
So here are those videos… They are amazing.
We just heard about new studies at Duke University in the USA that may lead to an injection for Type 2 diabetes that could provide weeks of good blood glucose control… Doesn’t that sound wonderful, and hopeful?
Biomedical engineers at Duke University have created a technology that might provide weeks of glucose control for diabetes with a single injection, which would be a dramatic improvement over current therapies. In primates, the treatment has been shown to last for weeks, rather than days.
By creating a controlled-release mechanism for a drug and optimizing its circulation time in the body, this new biopolymer injection has the potential to replace daily or weekly insulin shots with a once-a-month or twice-a-month treatments for Type 2 diabetes.
The new therapy is described June 5 in Nature Biomedical Engineering.
Many current treatments for Type 2 diabetes use a signaling molecule called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP1) to cause the pancreas to release insulin to control blood sugar. However, this peptide has a short half-life and is cleared from the body quickly.
To make treatments last longer, researchers have previously fused GLP1 with synthetic microspheres and biomolecules like antibodies, making them active for two to three days in mice and up to a week in humans. Despite this improvement, many of these treatments don’t include a mechanism to control the rate of the peptide’s release, causing the treatment’s effectiveness to plateau after prolonged use.
Now researchers at Duke have created a technology that fuses GLP1 to a heat-sensitive elastin-like polypeptide (ELP) in a solution that can be injected into the skin through a standard needle. Once injected, the solution reacts with body heat to form a biodegradable gel-like “depot” that slowly releases the drug as it dissolves. In animal experiments, the resulting therapy provided glucose control up to three times longer than treatments currently on the market.
“Although we’ve pursued this method in the past, Kelli Luginbuhl, a grad student in my lab, systematically worked to vary the design of the delivery biopolymer at the molecular level and found a sweet spot that maximized the duration of the drug’s delivery from a single injection,” says Ashutosh Chilkoti, chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at Duke University and a senior author of the paper. “By doing so, we managed to triple the duration of this short-acting drug for Type 2 diabetes, outperforming other competing designs.”
Building upon their previous work with the drug and delivery system, researchers in the Chilkoti lab optimized their solution to regulate glucose levels in mice for 10 days after a single injection, up from the previous standard of 2-3 days.
In further tests, the team found that the optimized formulation improved glucose control in rhesus monkeys for more than 14 days after a single injection, while also releasing the drug at a constant rate for the duration of the trial.
“What’s exciting about this work was our ability to demonstrate that the drug could last over two weeks in non-human primates,” says Kelli Luginbuhl, a PhD student in the Chilkoti lab and co-author of the study. “Because our metabolism is slower than monkeys and mice, the treatment should theoretically last even longer in humans, so our hope is that this will be the first bi-weekly or once-a-month formulation for people with Type 2 diabetes.”
Currently, the longest-acting glucose control treatment on the market, dulaglutide, requires a once-weekly injection, while standard insulin therapies often have to be injected twice or more every day.
Despite a variety of treatment options, managing Type 2 diabetes still poses a problem. Patients don’t always reach their glycemic targets, and adherence to a treatment plan that relies on frequent, meal-specific dosing leaves room for human error. By limiting the number of injections a person will need to control their glucose levels, the researchers hope this new tool will improve treatment options for the disease.
The researchers now plan to study the immune response to repeated injections and test the material with other animal models. Chilkoti and Luginbuhl are also considering additional applications for the controlled-release system, such as delivering pain medication.
Chilkoti also said that because the drug is synthesized inside E. coli bacterial cultures instead of mammalian cells, it is cheaper and faster to produce, making it a potential target for use in developing countries once it’s commercialized.
The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health (R01-DK091789). Chilkoti is a scientific advisor for PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals, which has licensed this technology from Duke.
CITATION: “An Injectable Depot of Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Fused to a Thermosensitive Polypeptide With Zero-Order Release Kinetics Provides One Week of Glucose Control,” Kelli M Luginbuhl, Jeffrey L Schaal, Bret Umstead, Eric Mastria, Xinghai Li, Samagya Banskota, Susan Arnold, Mark Feinglos, David D’Alessio, Ashutosh Chilkoti. Nature Biomedical Engineering, June 5, 2017. DOI: 10.1038/s41551-017-0078
We just got the following letter from HEALA and had to share it with you – Sweet Life has submitted comment, feel free to do the same!
ACT NOW TO TELL THE NATIONAL TREASURY AND PARLIAMENT TO PASS A STRONG SUGARY DRINKS TAX
BACKGROUND: WHY THIS MATTERS
In recognition of the negative health effects of sugary drinks, Minister of Finance Gordhan’s 2017 budget speech included a plan to tax sugary drinks—such as fizzy drinks and energy drinks—to help South Africans live longer and healthier lives. Tackling obesity-related diseases needs to be a national priority, and the proposed tax on sugary drinks is a first step in addressing this national epidemic. It’s important to raise as many voices as possible to strengthen and pass the tax.
Treasury and Parliament are acting NOW to further consider the proposed tax. The South African government has been under immense pressure from beverage companies and retail groups to weaken this important policy with exemptions, loopholes, and watered-down regulations—and they are having an impact! Even though there’s a proposed tax in the legislation, it’s critical to raise voices to encourage our leaders to strengthen and pass this life-saving measure!
That’s why Parliament and Treasury MUST hear from YOUR ORGANIZATION to make sure the final policy is strong and effective in reducing consumption of harmful sugary drinks among South Africans. They will accept comments on the proposal through 31 March.
Your organization has a unique voice and story to tell about why this policy is important to you. While it is critical to be active and engaged in speaking out on the necessity of a strong sugary drink tax, submitting public comments to Parliament and Treasury on the tax policy is especially impactful. Below are some key messages you can customize when submitting your comments, which are being accepted until Friday, 31 March 2017.
KEY MESSAGES: WHY WE NEED THE TAX
We support the National Treasury’s sugar drink tax and applaud them for their efforts to improve South Africans’ health; however, the tax can be strengthened to make it even more effective.
Sugary drinks are one of the most significant contributors to health problems such as diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, certain cancers, and dental caries in South Africa and globally. South Africans are among the top ten consumers of soft drinks in the world. In addition, South Africa is already ranked the most obese country in sub-Saharan Africa, and a recent study found that diabetes was the second leading cause of death among South Africans in 2015.
Sugary drink taxes work to reduce consumption, improve health, and save healthcare rands. Global experts—including the World Health Organization (WHO), World Cancer Research Fund, World Heart Federation, and International Diabetes Federation—recommend sugary drink taxes as a way to reduce sugar consumption. Evidence from Mexico and other jurisdictions that have passed taxes show declines in consumption that will work to decrease diabetes and other diseases without costing jobs.
The sugary beverage companies know that the tax will work to reduce consumption and make South Africans healthier. That is why they oppose it so vehemently. By passing a strong sugary drink tax, Treasury and Parliament can protect South Africa’s health and children rather than the special interests who target their unhealthy products to our most vulnerable consumers.
FOUR WAYS TO STRENGTHEN THE TAX
Tax all the sugar in all sugary drinks
The proposed tax design exempts a large portion of the sugar in sugary drinks—giving a “discount” on the first 4g of sugar per 100mL, no matter how unhealthy a beverage is. The discount reduces the health impact of the tax and is a giveaway to the beverage industry and manufacturers whose products have the highest and most harmful levels of sugars. There is no health justification for the exclusion, and no other country with a successful sugary drink tax has followed this structure. Treasury and Parliament need to remove the 4g discount and tax all the sugar in sugary drinks.
Increase the tax rate of concentrates
The current tax proposal includes a tax rate for concentrates (squashes or syrups) that is half the rate for ready-to-drink products. South Africans are drinking more and more concentrates than ever before; it is the fastest growing segment of the sugary drink market. Consumption in terms of kcal/capita increased from 16.5 percent in 2009 to 32.9 percent in 2016; by comparison, consumption of regular cola carbonates in 2016 was only 29.3 percent. To achieve its objective of improving health, the tax must encourage South Africans to consume beverages that are lower in sugar—instead of switching to cheap sugary concentrates. The tax rate for concentrates should be increased to align with the rate for ready-to-drink sugary beverages.
Tax all drinks with added sugar
The current proposal doesn’t include all sugary drinks. Fruit/vegetable juices and dairy-based drinks with added caloric sweeteners contain equal or higher levels of sugars, despite their illusion of health. Treasury needs to clarify their proposal so that all fruit and dairy-based drinks with added caloric sweeteners (whether using a fruit juice, concentrate-based sweetener, or any other caloric sweetener) are taxed.
Some revenue from the sugary drink tax should be used to promote health
While the sugary drink tax itself will be effective in improving health, it will be even more effective if some of the revenue is used to fund programs to promote healthy eating and improve health. It’s critical that the intent expressed in the budget speech to do this is carried out in practice. South Africans need to know that revenues will be used to benefit the health of the country. Revenue should be directed towards health promotion measures, such as increasing the number of community healthcare workers, funding nurses in schools, developing and implementing effective health and nutrition education campaigns, or improving water and sanitation infrastructure.
3 SIMPLE STEPS FOR SUBMITTING COMMENTS
- Introduce your comment by discussing why this is important to your organization; this is your chance to personalize your comments with your own experience
- Draft your comments on why the tax needs to be passed and strengthened, using some or all of the key messages in this document
- Email your comments by Friday, 31 March 2017 to: Ms Mmule Majola email@example.com and Ms Adele Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org
The South African government MUST put the health of South Africans before special interests who target vulnerable populations with their unhealthy products. Please make your voice heard today!
Healthy Living Alliance
Have you always wanted to see your name in lights? We can’t help out with that, but we are looking for some more testimonials to add to our homepage… So we can put your name in Sweet Life lights!
Looking for inspiration? Here’s what some of our readers (and our editor!) have to say:
Either comment on this blog post or send us an email and we’ll publish your comments right away!
Did you know?
There’s an International Footcare Foundation conference taking place in Cape Town in July this year – with a special emphasis on diabetes. Find out all about it at http://internationalfootcarefoundation.com/
The Conference will undertake pre-diabetic screening of 10,000 people with a family history of diabetes or a BMI greater than 25-28. Eye tests and blood tests will be undertaken off site by the appointed opticians and Pathcare depots. Foot screening will be undertaken by medical students, student podiatrists and allied medical professionals. 3000 people will be screened on each day and 1000 on the last day. Workshops will be held with the people being screened and life coaching will be given. Medical seminars will be held and issues relating to diabetes will be addressed by international and local speakers. Nutritional, life coaching and fitness workshops will also be held over the 4 days.
And if you’re in Cape Town, be sure to pop down to the CTICC from the 7th to the 10th July 2014 to find out more!
… Here at Sweet Life is to make sure that YOU are getting your own, free copy of Sweet Life.
So tell us:
1. Are you able to get a copy of Sweet Life at the moment?
2. If not, why not? Is there a Clicks Clinic or local support group near you where you could pick one up?
3. If you’re in a local support group but not getting Sweet Life delivered to your group, please email us and we’ll send them to you.
4. If there are no support groups or Clicks Clinics nearby, where do you get your medicine from? Is there a pharmacy we could send magazines to? A doctor’s office? Where do people with diabetes go to get help in your town? Let us know and we’ll send magazines there.
5. If all else fails, you can sign up to get a subscription copy four times a year, for R49. But we’d rather make sure all the diabetics in your area are getting copies of Sweet Life, for free!
My 14 year old son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes last year. I want to bring to your attention an initiative that I believe will greatly facilitate awareness and fundraising for T1D. A fellow mom of a T1 child, Jeanette Collier, and I have filed a petition to revise the type classification names of both T1 and T2 Diabetes to more accurately reflect the nature of onset of each condition. We believe this will benefit both the T1 and T2 communities and help protect our T1 children from dangers caused by prevalent misconceptions. We believe that clarity in the names given to these two types of Diabetes will enhance educational campaigns for all types; which in turn will benefit fundraising towards better treatments and a cure.
Our petition is approaching 5,000 signatures from all over the globe. It is supported by many well-respected individuals within the Diabetes community including:
- Dr. Camillo Ricordi, Scientific Director and Chief Academic Officer- Diabetes Research Institute (DRI)
- Robert A. Pearlman, President & CEO, Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF)
- Dr. G. Prakasam, Pediatric Endocrinologist, Founder/President Center of Excellence in Diabetes & Endocrinology (CEDE), past Chapter President and Board Member of ADA
- Dr. Mingder Yang, JDRF nPod Investigator Relationship Coordinator
- Moira McCarthy, Journalist/Author and JDRF National Volunteer, Chairperson and Outreach Speaker
- Della Matheson, RN, CDE; Research Coordinator, University of Miami Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet Clinical Center
- Brenda Novak, Best Selling Author and Diabetes Advocate
- Scott R. King, President, CEO and Founder, Islet Sheet Medical LLC, in association with Hanuman Medical Foundation
- Dr. Stephen Ponder, Pediatric Endocrinologist, Medical Director Texas Lions Camp
- Dr. David L. Katz, Founder and Director of The Yale University Prevention Center
- Riva Greenberg, Speaker, Author and Health Coach
- Theresa Garnero, Diabetes Nurse Educator, Author, and Speaker
- Barbara J. Anderson, Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Associate Head, Psychology Section, Baylor College of Medicine; Diabetes Nurse Educator/Social Worker (Joslin, Barbara Davis, and Texas Children’s)
- Bret Michaels, via Life Rocks Foundation
- Miguel Paludo, NASCAR Driver and Diabetes Advocate
- Nikki Lang, Singer/Songwriter and Diabetes Advocate
The petition can be accessed via a link on our website, DiabetesTypeConfusion.org. The response we have received so far has been amazing, but additional support is still needed to bring our efforts to the forefront. We hope that you will review our petition and consider signing and promoting our cause.
Please sign the petition here if you are interested: http://www.change.org/petitions/revise-names-of-type-1-2-diabetes-to-reflect-the-nature-of-each-disease
Thank you for your consideration!
– Jamie Perez
We were lucky enough to be featured in the Daily News newspaper this month, in honour of National Diabetes Month – check out the article below!
On Wednesday 21st November, The Health Alliance hosted an empowerment class called Successful Living with Diabetes. In this class, there was an informative talk from Dr Jagathpal about diabetes and how to combat it, as well as a talk by The Health Alliance’s Nutrition Coach about how nutrition can help you combat the condition and what you should and shouldn’t be eating (contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to eat “special” food if you are diabetic). The Health Alliance’s trainer also spoke to the audience about exercising with diabetes and the benefits thereof.
The Health Alliance launched their “Successful Living with Diabetes” Programme through this empowerment class. They have recently joined forces with Dr Jagathpal to put together this programme where they show diabetics that living with the condition doesn’t have to be troublesome. They offer an easy to follow programme revolving around exercise, nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
The programme runs for 12 weeks and includes a one hour group personal training session three times a week, 6 consultations with a nutrition coach and 6 consultations with Dr Jagathpal. Within this 12 week programme, you can be assured that you will receive the most personalised guidance and beneficial treatment available.
The programme costs R2500 per month, find out more by emailing info @ thehealthalliance.co.za (without the spaces, of course!) The Health Alliance is based in Berea, Durban.
Do you have a course or workshop you’d like the Sweet Life community to know about? Email us the details, and we’ll share it right here!
Danzil Afrika is a young man with a mission – he wants children from disadvantaged communities to have reliable access to the diabetes medication they need in order to lead normal, active and healthy lives. So he and fifteen other cyclists will be hitting the tar today, 8th November, to take up the Changing Diabetes® Cycle Challenge, a marathon challenge of cycling from Joburg to George in just 48 hours. The aim of this non-stop event is to raise funds to provide treatment for underprivileged youngsters living with this chronic condition.
The group will be accompanied by legendary former Bok, Joel Stransky, who enthusiastically supports its objective. “Everyone deserves to feel good and have a proper start in life,” he says, “and for these kids that means getting the treatment and care they need.”
Danzil knows what a difference a healthy lifestyle and the right treatment can make. He is a member of the C4D cycling (Cycle4Diabetes) team established by George-based GP Dr Jacques van Staden. This dedicated team of cyclists raises around R800,000 a year to provide 16 children with analogue insulin, which costs R50 000 per year per child.
“I know how important this medication is,” says Danzil, “and I want to make sure that as many children as possible can have access to it.”
Danzil, who lives in an informal settlement in Oudtshoorn, took up cycling at the age of 15, when a teacher at his school recommended the sport as an alternative to rugby.
“I loved it right from the start,” he says, “and the exercise really helped me. However, soon after leaving school, Danzil found himself struggling to make a living and to fund his sport. This is when he came to the attention of Dr van Staden, who offered him a place on the C4D team and financial support to buy equipment. With his race winnings providing a small income, he was able to devote himself full time to cycling and, in the past few years, he has placed extremely well at some of the country’s most prominent events, including the Cape Argus.
“The message he wants to give to those taking an interest in the cycle challenge is that, living with diabetes doesn’t mean you have to opt out of sports like cycling,” he says. “It’s just a matter of managing the condition with the right treatment, and making the right lifestyle choices. Then anything is possible.”
Dr Timmy Kedijang of Novo Nordisk, which sponsors C4D and which is sponsoring the Changing Diabetes® Cycle Challenge from Joburg to George, concurs.
“Approximately 3.5 million South Africans are living with diabetes,” he says. “The problem is that only about half have been diagnosed – and only about half of those are receiving some form of treatment.
“That is why we support events such as these – to raise awareness of diabetes and to demonstrate the fact that, with proper management, people living with the condition can do anything they choose to do.”
For Danzil, this is a start of his greatest ambition – to cycle in the Tour de France. Right now, though, he is preparing to tackle the challenge of cycling from Joburg to George. This, he hopes, will give youngsters from disadvantaged communities the chance to manage their diabetes successfully and, like him, fulfil their dreams.
Do you want to be part of an international diabetes research study, specifically aimed at Type 2 diabetics?
This 15-20 minute survey will not only contribute to further diabetes knowledge, but will actually pay you R25 (how cool is that?) Here are the conditions to take part:
– Type 2 diabetes
– Diagnosed with diabetes at 40 years or older
– Currently using insulin
– Taking long-acting (basal) insulin
– Not using an insulin pump
If this sounds like you, click here to help the research study find out more about the behaviour of Type 2 insulin users (things like how often you use insulin, etc.)
There are about 15 questions and it is entirely online. As I said before, when you complete the survey you get R25 – to spend on healthy food, of course!
How much white rice do you eat every week? You may want to re-think your choice.
Recent studies conducted in China and Japan are linking Type 2 diabetes to high white rice consumption. The research showed that people who ate large amounts of white rice were 55% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.
This was further analysed against studies conducted in Australia and America where white rice consumption is lower, but also contributes a link to Type 2 diabetes. As diet choices and exercise are vital in managing Type 2 diabetes, the consumption of white rice is relevant.
So how much white rice do you usually eat? Remember that white rice is notoriously refined, and high GI. A better and healthier choice would be to switch to brown rice which has more fibre in it and is also a low GI option.
Find out more about the study here.