At age 45, Will was shocked to discover he was Type 1 Diabetic. After being approached to take part in Diabetes Research, he is now undertaking his third trial. He explains how these research opportunities kept him on the straight and narrow and help him understand, regulate and manage his Diabetes better.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I'm 63 and self-employed as a dog walker and boarder, walking up to 40 dogs a week.
How did you find out you had Diabetes?
I've been Diabetic for 18 years. I went to the doctors for a water infection and came out Type 1 Diabetic. It was completely unexpected. For people my age that have sugar taken away after 45 years, it is a massive shock.
Doing research trials keeps me on the straight and narrow. I now appreciate what people are trying to do with research to make Diabetes an easier thing to manage and live with.
How did you first get involved in a research trial?
I was contacted by the Research Department because where I was with my regime and Diabetes it met the criteria that they were looking for. I was asked if I would like to come in and find out about it. They explained what was involved, how it would work, how long it would take, what my commitment would be and if I would be interested. After being given all the relevant information and the support that they were offering, I decided it was the right thing for me to do.
Have you been involved in any other Diabetes trials?
I've been involved in three main trials. The first one was changing insulin; testing a new brand to see how it worked. The second trial was for a drug used for Type 2 Diabetes to see if the same medication would aid Type 1 Diabetics. This was a blind study of a placebo with around 180 people taking part. You didn't know whether you were on a placebo or the drug even after the end of the trial. The most recent trial I took part in was for a new sensor and monitoring system. I was coming in every 4-6 weeks for the sensors to be changed. I'm on first name terms with everybody in the trial and that really helps.
What helped you the most?
One of the biggest things that made a difference to me was that my wife was included. When a trial was offered, it wouldn't just be me coming in to find out about it, my wife would come in and everything would be explained to her too, which I think is nice. She lives with diabetes as much as I do.
What are the benefits of taking part in research?
Taking part in research is a real benefit because I’m being monitored, it keeps my controls much more regulated and I have a better understanding of what I need for managing my diabetes.
When I was diagnosed as Type 1 Diabetic it was a shock to the system, I played the game and did everything properly. After a year it suddenly kicked home what Diabetes was doing to me. I didn't realise at the time Diabetes kills more people than Cancer. I was looking at my lifestyle and what I was doing and everything revolved around monitoring and injecting insulin. I began to hate it with a vengeance. Even now I have a disdain for Diabetes, but I have learned to live with it. However, having the research possibilities and doing trials with the Research Department keeps me on the straight and narrow. I now appreciate what people are trying to do with research to make diabetes an easier thing to manage and live with.
What advice would you give someone interested in taking part in research?
I would say to anybody that is given the opportunity to participate in a trial, go for it!
The amount of support and opportunities does make a difference to your life. I will continue to do trials because I enjoy it. It gives me a focus and new things are coming up that does make it easier.
I'm currently 63, I've been Diabetic for 18 years. I was diagnosed when I was 45, which was very unexpected. I went to the Doctors for a water infection and came out Type 1 Diabetic.
I ended up in clinical research, which is a real benefit because it keeps my controls much more regulated and I have a better understanding of what I need for managing my Diabetes.
With the latest trial, I was trialing a new brand of insulin which was monitored via a phone and Wi-Fi, which all the results daily results were sent direct to the hospital. So they could see exactly how much insulin I had, when I had it and what my levels were. It meant I had to be careful as to what I ate and what exercise I had because it did make a difference to the amount of insulin I needed to inject.
Benefits of being on the trial. One of the biggest things that made a difference to me, was my wife was included. So when a trial was offered it wouldn't just be me coming in to find out about the trial, my wife would come in, everything would be explained to her, which I think is nice. Because she lives with Diabetes as much as I do.
Anybody that is Type 1 Diabetic and is given the opportunity to participate in a trial, go for it! The amount of support and change of how things are done is changing so rapidly, it does make a difference to your life. I will continue to do trials because I enjoy it. It gives me a focus and new things are coming up that do make it easier.