Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes Support in Ireland

When you live with type 1 diabetes there is SO, SO MUCH information to learn, especially in the early days. So much, that I don’t think it is possible for any health care professional to cover absolutely everything – how could they? Then, as they years go by, we are considered the experts, and so information relevant to us falls through the cracks. One of the major benefits of diabetes support groups is that it can fill in a lot of those information gaps; such as where to register to get your many, many health checks, such as feet and eyes or if your clinic has structured education programmes. A support group also helps you to stay updated as the health information changes, which it does all the time. And it also lets you know that you are not the only one living with diabetes.

In my opinion, diabetes peer support is as important in your diabetes management as your health care providers. A support group provides opportunities to share experiences and to learn from one another. They encourage strength and resilience. Very often it’s the piece of diabetes management that you never knew you needed.

ConnecT1D in Seattle say that “people with T1D who connect with others with T1D tend to make shifts in their lifestyles that add up to better T1D management, better health and greater satisfaction in life.”

Diabetes Forecast, the American Diabetes Association’s monthly magazine says that “Much of the research on peer support has involved people with diabetes, and the findings are significant. According to a recent report by the National Peer Support Collaborative Learning Network, of 20 studies on peer support and diabetes published between 2000 and 2012, all but one found social support to be beneficial.”

It doesn’t matter if that support comes from the virtual world of social media or from face to face contact. Although, I feel that you can’t beat face to face meetups.

I believe that a diabetes support group only needs two people to meet over a cuppa to get started. That might be a simplistic view of it but that’s what it is. I suppose it helps if those two people get on well too.

If you are interested in becoming part of a Diabetes Support Group we have a list that we try to keep updated.

Diabetes Support Groups in Ireland

Another way to get connected to your type 1 diabetes community is to come to Thriveabetes 2018 in Dublin on Saturday 24th February, where you will meet, at least, 100 adults with type 1 diabetes and at least, another 100 parents of children with type 1 diabetes. Now, that's a lot of support.

Register here for Thriveabetes 2018

Sunrise Foundation Diabetes Project

A few of you will have come across a FaceBook post in the Diabetes in Ireland Private Group from Debbie Davis who helps the Sunrise Foundation collect up unused and unneeded diabetes supplies such as old redundant glucose meters and test strips which are then send to underprivileged families with diabetes in Africa. I wanted to find out a little more about the Sunrise Foundation and the work that they do, so Debbie very kindly put me in touch with Matilda Chongwa the CEO. Matilda has written this week’s blog post about her foundation.


What is the Sunrise Foundation?

My name is Matilda Chongwa. I am the CEO of Sunrise Foundation. 31 years ago, my mum was diagnosed with diabetes in Cameroon in a little village called Bali Nyonga in the North West Region of Cameroon. My siblings and I were all very young and did not know what diabetes was all about and the only thing we were told by my dad was that my mum was going to die because she was suffering from a sickness that she has to be on medication throughout her life. She was very ill and helpless in the hospital. She lost a lot of weight and she spent a whole year in the hospital. When she came out of the hospital she was always on medication and even now her life is all centred around medication and insulin.

With this in my mind, I was always thinking of ways to help my mum and others in the same situation. My mum was the first to be diagnosed with diabetes in the family and some of my aunties and uncles who were diagnosed after my mum died because they could not afford medication. Diabetes medication in Cameroon is very expensive and a lot of people cannot afford and they died on regular basis.



When I came to Ireland I thought it was the right time for me to create awareness and support people with diabetes in Ireland and most especially in Africa where a lot of them are dying. The worse is that parent who cannot afford medication turn to invest on their health with the little they have and the children cannot afford education. Most children from families with diabetes cannot afford education so one of the things we do at Sunrise Foundation is education sponsorship for children from extremely poor families with diabetes in Africa.

What we have achieved so far:

  • We have successfully organised so many diabetes awareness events in Ireland. Where we get Irish medical doctors to talk about diabetes
  • We donated €1,000 to Diabetes Ireland.
  • We donated €400 to Diabetes Mater private.
  • We have also celebrated World Diabetes Day in Ireland with a Fashion show {Fashion Against Diabetes}
  • We have taken Irish Diabetes Consultants, doctors, and Sunrise volunteers to Africa for free screening and awareness on Diabetes and High Blood Pressure
  • We have been featured on TV and newspapers in Ireland and Africa because of our work with the Sunrise Foundation.
  • We have won 4 recognition awards from creating health awareness in Ireland and Africa.
  • The CEO/Founder Matilda Chongwa was recognised last year in Germany As an African Living Legend for Diaspora Engagement International, through the African Living Legend Awards. All thanks to Sunrise Foundation Diabetes project.



Our Next trip to Africa is in November and that is why Debbie Davies is collecting, medication, insulin, test trips and glucometers. I met Debbie Davies in 2015 with her daughter Caitlin Davis who had type 1 diabetes. She used to come to Diabetes awareness events organised by Sunrise Foundation and shared her life story about living with type 1 Diabetes and unfortunately, she died last year. She is greatly missed by The Sunrise Foundation Team and those she motivated with her stories and advice on how to live with Diabetes.

After her death, her lovely mother Debbie Davis decided to keep the relationship with Sunrise Foundation by organising collection of diabetes medication for Sunrise Foundation Diabetes project in Africa. We were in Nigeria in May for 12 days and all the collection were donated to St Mary's Hospital in Isolo, Nigeria. This donation was done in the presence of Dr Richard Firth who is a Diabetes Consultant in Mater Private who was the head doctor with us in Nigeria.

If you have items to donate to our next trip to Africa please contact Debbie via email davdebbie@gmail.com or Phone 085 2880489.


We are organising the World Diabetes Fashion Show on the 4th of November at the Hilton hotel, Dublin Airport on the Malahide road.

This event is organised by the Sunrise Foundation in partnership with the Diabetes Centre Mater Private Hospital. We would like to invite you all to come and share the day with other people with diabetes who will be sharing their stories and celebrating the World Diabetes Day. We are also looking for volunteers to travel with the team or who want to share their life story to help others.

Sunrise Foundation Contact Details:

Run Rebecca Run!!!

You have to have a little bit of crazy in this world to make it fun. At the end of October, In 5 weeks, a whole lot of crazy will be unleashed on Dublin City for the annual Dublin City Marathon. I know a couple of these people!?! My amazing cousin Sinead who is doing her… I've lost count but she raises a nice chunk of change for a number of very deserving charities. And this year Thriveabetes cofounder, Rebecca Flanagan is going to Take on An actual Marathon for Thriveabetes!!!! Because, you know, life with diabetes is a marathon, not a sprint;-)

Rebecca is a d-mum and a d-daughter. She works a full time job disguised as a part time, plus a part time job, plus Mum to three girls from 8 - 17 years. She runs the country roads around Doolin, Co Clare to keep her sanity, which goes completely against what I said earlier. Not surprisingly, Rebecca had to take a back seat with Thriveabetes after 2016 but remains a dedicated supporter.

I asked her to wrtie about why Thriveabetes is so important to her and why she has chosen to take on the Dublin city marathon to raise funds for Thriveabetes. Please help her spread the word to her friends and extended family to dig deep by share this post and in particular her fundraising link - Run Rebecca Run Donation Page


Here’s what Rebecca has put together about why she is doing this.

Most everyone who knows me will know that raising awareness and funds for Type 1 diabetes is a cause close to my heart. Hailey, my eldest of 3 daughters, is now 17 and has been living with Type 1 diabetes since before her 8th birthday - a condition she will have the rest of her life. Countless finger-prick blood tests and insulin injections have been part of her life since then, not to mention the emotional side of dealing with a long term illness. If you're not sure what Type 1 diabetes is or would like to learn more, please have a look at www.diabetes.ie.

When my friend, Grainne, who I'd known in the diabetes community for awhile (and is an amazing person with Type 1 herself!), had an idea to start a national conference for adults with Type 1 and parents of children with Type 1, I jumped on board immediately. There is nothing like this in Ireland. The inaugural Thriveabetes Conference was held in October 2015 and was an astounding success. The support we all received from each other, along with the amazing insight and knowledge of the international speakers, left us all with a feeling of not being alone in any struggle we might be dealing with or might encounter with Type 1 diabetes. It also meant we, the organizers, had to do it again. And we did, bigger and better in October 2016, including a children and teen programs.

This conference has grown to be a wonderful way for this community to connect and we've made so many truly amazing friendships in the last few years. Did I mention that the conference is fully organized by volunteers?! Thriveabetes 2018 is set for 24 February and we need your help to make this happen. I've had to take a step back from the organizing committee this year due to personal reasons, but I still want to help out as best I know how - which is to raise some money!

I'll be running the Dublin Marathon in October and my training is going well so far - I've completed a 15 mile run and haven't died, so... YAY! I'm being ambitious with my target but I know how generous all my friends, family and the entire diabetes community are, so please help out as best you can. Any little donation at all will do.

From all of us at Thriveabetes - THANK YOU!

Please support Rebecca's fundraising page, link underneath or share this post.

Rebecca's Fundraising Link.