Today we have a feature blog from Mary Hayes, one of The Pendsey Trusts avid supporters.
Mary has witnessed first hand the difficulties for those living with Type 1 diabetes and passionately believes that more can, and should, be done to help these individuals.
As a diabetes specialist nurse who is also living with the condition, Mary has been kind enough to share her story:
“I heard of the DREAM Trust in 1998 when Diabetes UK published an article by Dr Sharad Pendsey ‘Where have all the girls gone?’ It told the story of how two girls died because their parents did not have enough money to pay for insulin. He, his wife and well wishers set up the charity to provide free insulin for children. The words spoke directly me and I felt so thankful that I was born in England and was lucky enough to have free prescriptions. I wondered how living in the UK I might be able to help Dr Pendsey.
“Working as a diabetes specialist nurse I was used to representatives bringing samples into the office, often they went unused. I asked if I could send these unwanted gifts to India and Dr Pendsey wrote to thank me. Then one day he e-mailed to ask that I might go and give a talk to a school in Ashford in Kent. A pupil whose sister had diabetes had read the same article and put forward The DREAM Trust to become their school charity of the year. I went to the school assembly to give a talk about Dr Pendseys work and I found myself saying how I would love to go there, meet the children and see the charity in action for myself.
“This was exactly what we did. The staff met my husband and I as we came off the flight and put garlands around my head. It was a very warm welcome we were the first visitors from overseas to visit the Trust. We visited patients on the hospital ward and diabetes clinic and went out on home visits. I gave a talk to the children and health care professionals. The talk to the health care professionals was important as many were puzzled as to why Dr Pendsey should have saved the girls as they feared for their future. I gave a talk about how I got diabetes aged 10 years, how I studied at school and became a diabetes educator, married had two children a boy and a girl and continued to work. At that time, I had diabetes for 29 years and was keeping well. The story inspired them that their children could live a life worth living. The women in the audience though thought my husband was most amazing for allowing me to go to work!
“I have remained a supporter ever since. Dr & Mrs Pendsey have stayed with us in the UK when he had a lecture to give. We meet up in Dubai at an International Diabetes Conference when we supported him giving a DREAM Trust lecture. We have since returned to Nagpur to visit the clinic and meet the children we sponsor. It is a privilege to be a part of this charity and see the support grow. The Pendsey Trust means this model can be extended to other countries.”
Many thanks to Mary for sharing her story with us, and for all the support she has given to both us and our partner, The DREAM Trust. If you wish to find out more, or communicate with Mary, please contact us here.