Diabetes has always been part of my life – my grandmothers had diabetes and it blinded my great aunt. It has marched on through my parents’ generation and then into mine. Working in international development I saw diabetes strike the poorest of communities in countries like Pakistan and Egypt. It was a shock; I had not expected to see a so-called disease of affluence amongst the very poor.
Five years ago a very persistent man called my office at the Commonwealth wanting to talk about diabetes. That persistent caller was Sir Michael Hirst. I was astonished at the figures he and Anne-Marie Felton presented on the global diabetes epidemic. Then I met the tall man from Cameroon, the charismatic Jean Claude Mbanya, and I cheered from the side-lines at a small organisation that had the audacity to get the United Nations sit up and take notice and agree a UN Resolution on diabetes. I told my husband my dream job would be CEO of IDF.
Today I am where I wanted to be – working with the IDF family of committed people at a historic moment that we have created. Together we have the passion, the arguments and the solutions to persuade world leaders at this year’s UN Summit to stop diabetes overwhelming future generations. Together we can make a world of difference for people on the ground.
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