DRWF celebrated 100 years of insulin from World Diabetes Day on 14th November 2021, with a week-long programme of online presentations bringing together healthcare professionals and the wider diabetes community

DRWF collaborated with Diabetes Professional Care (DPC) to present the second United Through Diabetes virtual event.

The event followed up from a successful inaugural event in 2020, and was this time expanded to a week of discussion and education for people living with diabetes.

Launched on World Diabetes Day, the event ran from 14th to 18th November for people with an interest in diabetes to discover the latest diabetes information and hear from the UK’s leading diabetes healthcare professionals.

The aim of the event was to bridge the gap between healthcare professionals and people living with diabetes with up-to-date education, and inspirational sessions to help people living with all types of diabetes, and their family and friends.

Our aim was to provide DRWF supporters with the confidence, knowledge, and tools they need to take control of their own health and diabetes journey.

World Diabetes Day on 14th November 2021 coincided with the centenary anniversary of the ground-breaking discovery of insulin.

Read more in 100 years of insulin, where we take a closer look at the research breakthrough that has improved, and in many cases saved, the lives for people living with diabetes ever since.

Lee Calladine, DRWF Event Co-ordinator, said: “We worked with Maggie Meer and Toby Baker from DPC again this year, supported by the production team from Disruptive Media to deliver five days of United Through Diabetes online content.”

Among the event highlights was 100 years of diabetes research: Past, present and future - a two-hour film produced by the team at Disruptive Media from their green screen studio in Waterloo, London.

We invited a panel to discuss and take a look back at the timeline of diabetes research since the introduction of insulin, key advances, clinical outcomes and patient benefits, and a look toward the future and hopes for what comes next in research.

The presentation was hosted by Dr David Strain, Senior Clinical Lecturer at University of Exeter, and featured contributions from Dr Eleanor Kennedy, DRWF Research Manager; Professor Emeritus David Matthews, Professor of Diabetic Medicine at University of Oxford; Professor John Wilding, Professor of Medicine at the Institute of Life Course and Medical Sciences, University of Liverpool; Dr Mark Evans, University Lecturer (Clinical) at the Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge; Dr Shivani Misra, DWRF Trustee and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer, Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction at Imperial College London; and Dr Chloe Rackham, DRWF Research Fellow at the University of Exeter.

Dr Kennedy and Dr Misra were also featured in a video on the researcher and patient perspective – Hope versus hype in diabetes research: What research means to people living with diabetes. This included contributions from DRWF-funded researcher Professor James Shaw, diabetes specialist nurse Kelly Carden and DRWF Research Administrator Sarah Brown.

Watch: 20 years of DRWF Research Funding:


Sick day rules and managing diabetes during the wintertime was a presentation by Donna Edwards, Locality Lead Diabetes Specialist Nurse at Hexham Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust on sick day rules, flu vaccinations and Covid booster jabs, colds, in addition to how to spot flu or Covid symptoms and general management of diabetes during the colder winter months.

Life coach Wendy Palmer-Grove provided a video presentation on Staying well with diabetes focussing on wellbeing, wellness and positive living.

A discussion on the challenges, fears, successes, learning and lessons of young people with diabetes and managing the condition as a family entitled Type 1 and type 2 diabetes in young people and becoming a type 1 family was presented by Professor Katherine Barnard-Kelly of Spotlight AQ and author of the DRWF information leaflets on sexual health and diabetes; Lee Calladine, DRWF Events Co-ordinator and Sam Dreczko, DRWF Digital Marketing Assistant.

Heroes of the multi-verse, was comic book panel discussion with Professor Partha Kar OBE, National Specialty Advisor for Diabetes with NHS England and Consultant in Diabetes and Endocrinology at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust; Dr Mayank Patel, Consultant in Diabetes and Acute Medicine at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and member of the DRWF Editorial Advisory Board; and artist Danny Mclaughlin looking at the comic series as a unique educational tool to engage young people with type 1 diabetes, the concept to finished product, storyboards, art, and key diabetes awareness and management messages of each comic. They also include Jazz Sethi who they developed the Bluelight comic book with for an Indian audience.

More information on each comic at:

Type 1 Origins

Attack of the Ketones

Type 1 S.T.I.G.M.A.

Many of the presentations were pre-recorded videos broadcast daily throughout the event.

There was more for young people as we looked back at the Camp in the Cloud virtual events in collaboration with Over The Wall and the creative comic character workshop activities.

Injecting your insulin safely and effectively was the focus of a presentation by diabetes specialist nurses and members of the Diabetes 101 online community including Bethany Kelly (who is a member of the DRWF Editorial Advisory Board), Vicki Alabraba, Amanda Epps and Tamsin Fletcher-Salt.

Dr Patel and Sophie Daltry, Research Nurse at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, talked about the causes, risks, treatments, prevention and preparation of hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia in The highs and lows of diabetes.

The 15 essential checks that people with diabetes should expect ended the week with a positive message on the importance of good self-management. The checks are:

· Blood-glucose test (HbA1c)

· Blood pressure

· Cholesterol (blood-lipids)

· Eye screening

· Foot and leg check

· Kidney check

· Advice on diet and nutrition

· Emotional and psychological support

· Access to group education courses

· Access to care from a diabetes specialist

· Help to stop smoking

· Support if you are planning to have a baby

· Support with any sexual dysfunction problems

· Good care if you are in hospital

· Annual flu inoculation


The presentation was from Dr Patel and Charles Odiase, Consultant Pharmacist in Primary Care and Diabetes Dacorum GP Federation (Lead Clinical Pharmacist).

Throughout the week the programme also included talks on continuous glucose monitoring; closed loop technology; diabetes-related eye screening; looking after your feet; how to prepare for video or telephone consultations; and language matters.

Lee Calladine, DRWF Events Co-ordinator, said: “As a person both living with type 1 diabetes and working in diabetes education, I can't stress enough the value of keeping informed and staying educated on the subject. It doesn't matter what type of diabetes you have or if you are a family member, friend, or carer, United Through Diabetes included something for everyone.”

United Through Diabetes was organised in collaboration between DRWF and Diabetes Professional Care for people living with all types of diabetes.

Diabetes Professional Care is the UK’s leading and largest national conference and exhibition for all healthcare professionals responsible for delivering care and support to people living with, or at risk of developing diabetes and its related conditions.

DRWF is a leading charity, registered in England and Wales, funding vital diabetes research around the world and providing Quality in Care (QiC) award-winning Diabetes Wellness events to ensure that people with all types of diabetes are ‘Staying well until a cure is found…’

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