World snowboarder with diabetes meets teenage patients from Southmead Hospital

Monday, 18 June 2012

One of the UK’s top freeride extreme snowboarders who also has diabetes is talking to young patients from Southmead Hospital about the condition.

Chris Southwell is a world-class freeride snowboarder who travels the globe to compete and is the highest world-ranking Briton. Freeride snowboarder Chris Southwell

He has type 1 diabetes and will be speaking to teenagers with the condition about how diabetes has not held him back in pursuing his dreams.

The diabetes adult and paediatric teams at North Bristol NHS Trust are developing their teenage and young adult services.

At the age of 16 or 17 diabetes patients move from being seen in paediatric clinics to adult clinics and the team at Southmead Hospital want to make this transition smoother.

Each year they hold an open evening for teenage diabetes patients to get to know each other and talk about their experiences.

This year’s event will be held on June 21.

Chris said: “I want to show these young people with diabetes that the condition is not a barrier to your ambitions.

“I hope that I can inspire them to think differently about their diabetes and how they can manage their condition rather than their condition controlling their lives.

“It is great to be involved in such a positive project with the diabetes service at Southmead Hospital.”    

Freeride snowboarder Chris SouthwellDiabetes Specialist Nurse Debbie Stern, from Southmead Hospital, said: “Understanding the experiences of other people with diabetes is important for teenagers who are becoming more responsible for managing their own condition.

“Adolescence is a challenging part of any teenager’s life which is why the diabetes team want to ensure the transition is a smooth journey from paediatric to adult services.

“These open evenings are a chance for young people with diabetes to find out that the condition does not have to hold you back from achieving your goals.

“The feedback we have had has been great, with people telling us the session has helped them realise they were not alone.”