Type 1 diabetes support for parents

Managing Blood Glucose and Exercise at Thriveabetes 2018

One of the most ask questions in the online diabetes community is in relation to managing blood glucose and exercise, fitness, or any physical activity when you live with type 1 diabetes. The challenge of exercise reducing glucose levels dramatically, even hours afterwards, and the frustration of having to replace the glucose burned with extra calories put people off for many years.But now we have more research and more knowledge on the science and exercise is less frustrating.

Thriveabetes type 1 diabetes conference on 24th February 2018

We have brought the expertise of Dr. Alistair Lumb, amateur cyclist James O’Reilly and former senior county GAA footballer, Kevin Nolan. Here’s a little of what we have in store.




Type 1 diabetes; Managing Blood Glucose and Exercise

Alistair is a Consultant in Diabetes and Acute General Medicine at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He is also one of the key organizers of the OneTouch Sports Weekend (formerly known as the Animas Sports Weekend) in the UK since it began. Thriveabetes exhibition coordinator, Christine Meehan, who has been an enthusiastic cyclist, runner, boot camp participant for many years, attended this event last October and said she learned so, so much from it.




Diabetes & Exercise - My Personal Experience

James was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2006, when he was 19 and only developed a passion for cycling in 2013.

However, based on medical advice, he was only doing rides of up to two hours in duration and it was only out of curiosity that he did a google search for “professional athletes with type 1 diabetes” that he realized he could go beyond. He started following the NovoNordisk Team Type 1 professional cycling team and broke through that barrier.

In 2015, James was featured in an Irish Times article because he took part in the 2015 mHealth Grand Tour which involved a 1,500km cycle with 20,000 metres of climbing over 10 days with 26 riders, all with type 1 diabetes.

And in 2016, he took part in Team Novo Nordisk’s Development Camp. James wrote a blog post for Thriveabetes just before he went off on this trip. You can read more here.

Follow James on: Facebook  Twitter @semajoreilly



Diabetes Doesn’t Stop You Type 1 Adult Panel

Kevin Nolan is a former Gaelic footballer for Dublin Senior team and continues to play for Kilmacud Crokes. He played on the team when they won the 2011 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship for the first time in sixteen years. Kevin was named the man of the match in that game.

Four days after experiencing the euphoria of Dublin winning the 2011 All Ireland Football Final, he was diagnosed Coeliac disease. Three months after that, in December, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. After weeks of sitting out training he did finally get back out with the team and played to another victory in 2013. He no longer plays at Senior level and is a teacher based in Lucan.

Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevinNolan7





Saturday, February 24th 2018 The Red Cow Hotel, Naas Road, Dublin. ADVANCED REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED Includes a hot lunch and refreshments valued at €25.

Additional Information;

Full Conference Programme and schedule

Venue Information (Getting there and Staying there)

Speaker Profiles (still waiting on a couple of speaker biographies and photos)

Register Here.

If cycling or football isn’t your thing here are a couple more Irish Sporting Role Models.



Stephen Clancy Professional cyclist from Limerick diagnosed at 19, member of Team NovoNordisk aiming to make it into the 2021 Tour de France.

George Clancy, IRFU International Rugby Referee

Alan Sothern Irish international hockey player

Mary Flynn, dietician and show jumper dxd aged 41 DI mag Autumn 2010

Catherine Brady World Champion Kick

Kenneth Sweeney, Former Senior County footballer in Sligo

Alan Kernaghan Former ROI Footballer

We have some Medical Experts at Thriveabetes


This post is the third in our series of What to expect at Thriveabetes 2018. The first post was about “What to Expect at Thriveabetes 2018 if you are an Adult with type 1 diabetes” and the second post was a little flavour for our 5 - 18 years olds attending in “Going for Your Dreams with Diabetes”. This post is for everyone attending and focuses on the fact that this year we have quite a few medical experts in type 1 diabetes, although this is not the predominant reason for attending Thriveabetes, some medical information is hugely beneficial, especially to those recently diagnosed. Three of our medical experts live with type 1 diabetes.

I do want to point out that every person attending Thriveabetes, yes that means all of you, is a diabetes expert and will bring your own knowledge to share with others on the day.

The full programme for all ages and groups attending Thriveabetes is available here and if I’ve convinced you enough to register before Christmas you can do so here.

Our diabetes medical experts are:

Anna Clarke; Health Promotion and Research Manager, Diabetes Ireland.

Dr Anna Clarke Health Promotion Manager with the Diabetes Federation of IrelandDr. Anna Clarke is Health Promotion and Research Manager with Diabetes Ireland. She has worked as a diabetes nurse specialist setting up the first private diabetes education service in Ireland. She has initiated projects to provide support for persons with diabetes and provide access to diabetes education at community level. The main initiatives are community orientated diabetes education programmes for professionals and people with diabetes, pharmacy based diabetes clinics, a diabetes module for accredited counsellors, and health promotion initiatives in schools, workplaces and community settings. She was part of the development team for the Galway University Health Promotion Module and is also currently an adjunct Lecturer in University College Dublin. Her main focus is as an advocate for people with diabetes on the National Diabetes Working Group, National Paediatric Working Group and Cooperation And Working Together (CAWT) and through the media as a media spokesperson for Diabetes Ireland.


Dr Mark Davies; Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Mark graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 1998 with a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Prior to this he worked as a Research Psychologist at St George’s Hospital Medical School, University of London. Since June 2000, he has worked at Belfast City Hospital where he provides a clinical psychology service to diabetes teams across Belfast Health & Social Care Trust. Most of his working time is spent talking to people with diabetes about a wide range of psychological issues that can impair their ability or willingness to look after their diabetes. In addition he provides supervision and training to a range of healthcare professionals both locally and nationally. He has published widely and, along with a team of colleagues, he runs an annual empowerment and counselling skills training course for healthcare professionals who work in diabetes services across Ireland.


Prof. Seán Dinneen; Consultant Endocrinologist, Galway University Hospitals, Clinical Lead National Diabetes Programme

In 2016, Prof Seán Dinneen; Consultant Endocrinologist, UHG, was appointed as National Lead for the Diabetes Clinical Programme of the Irish Health Service Executive. His professional interests include developing and evaluating programmes of self-management education for people with diabetes, developing optimal models of community-based diabetes care and understanding the diabetic foot. He was part of successful bids which brought a School of Podiatry and a Clinical Research Facility to NUI Galway.



Kate Gajewska; Diabetes Educator, Psychologist, PWD

Kate has been living with type 1 diabetes for over 30 years. She is a diabetes educator, psychologist, and currently a Doctorate candidate at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She is conducting a study looking at the access to insulin pump therapy in Ireland. Prior to that, she worked as a research data manager in Diabetes Centre of Our Lady's Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin.

She is a member of Diabetes Ireland, the Adult Type 1 Diabetes Support Group in Dublin, and a member of the International Society of Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes. She engages in a lot of initiatives aiming to improve the quality of life of people with type 1 diabetes, she is also a proud Thriveabetes supporter.

Before she moved to Ireland, Kate had worked for many years as a diabetes educator, psychoeducator and insulin pumps certified trainer in one of the biggest pediatric diabetes centre in Warsaw, Poland. In her free time she likes to run, sail, dive and travel and spend time with her 1 year old daughter, her husband and two pets. Follow Kate on Twitter @gajewska_kate


Dr Alistair Lumb; Consultant in Diabetes and Acute General Medicine

Dr. Lumb has worked with what was formerly known as the Animas (now known as One Touch) Sports Weekend since it began. He is a Consultant in Diabetes and Acute General Medicine at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Through his career he has been interested in the management of Type 1 diabetes for sport and exercise and has worked with athletes in nationally recognised clinics in the area. He is particularly interested in how technology can be helpful in this arena. His other professional interests include inpatient diabetes care, antenatal diabetes, cystic fibrosis related diabetes, and integrated diabetes care. Outside of work he is a keen cyclist.

P.S. Thriveabetes cofounder, Christine Meehan attended the One Touch Sports weekend last October and LOVED IT!!!


Gráinne (don't you just love that name :-D) Mallon; Paediatric Diabetes Dietitian

Gráinne has been working in the area of paediatric diabetes for over 15 years and is currently working at Tallaght hospital where we have nearly 400 children with type 1 diabetes attending our service. I thoroughly enjoy working in this area and in particular I love facilitating group education programmes for children with diabetes & their families.

I have spoken at several parent information evenings organised by diabetes ireland and am just back from ISPAD where I presented our findings on introducing structured group education programmes to families attending our service. I am passionate about teaching carb counting and look forward to presenting on the dietary factors that can affect postprandial blood glucose control.


Dr. Kevin Moore; Consultant Endocrinologist

Just like Joe Solo, we would find it very difficult to have a Thriveabetes without Kevin Moore. Kevin is a Consultant endocrinologist in Tallaght Hospital, Naas General Hospital and the Beacon Hospital. Kevin has been making occasional guest appearances at the Type 1 Diabetes Support group meetings in Dublin for a number of years. This is his third Thriveabetes.

He works tirelessly to improve the life of patients with diabetes and those with chronic endocrine disorders. Dr. Moore is a strong advocate for healthy lifestyle with chronic conditions. He has undertaken a number of activities with patients, including climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, participating in triathlons and 5-10Km runs. He regularly gives voluntary patient education talks throughout Ireland, including at the Type 1 diabetes support group for adults in Dublin.

Paula Short; Counsellor and Psychotherapist and Mum of a child with type 1 diabetes.

Paula lives in Co. Galway. Paula’s son was diagnosed with Type 1 four years ago, when he was seven years old. Paula tutors in Counselling and Psychotherapy and is in private practice as a Psychotherapist. She believes that when someone in a family is diagnosed with Type 1, the whole family is affected. Paula would love to see families being given, not only practical, medical and educational support at this time, but also the emotional support they need. Both Paula and her husband, Philip are also involved in the Loughrea Youth Theatre.


Joe Solowiejczyk; Diabetes Nurse Educator & Family Therapist

Joe has been living with type 1 diabetes for over 50 years. He grew up in New York but now lives in California. He is a registered nurse, diabetes educator and family therapist and works extensively with both patients and professionals on the "Family-Approach to Diabetes Management"; helping children with type 1 diabetes and their families to cope with their child's diagnosis and daily challenges of living with diabetes. His ebook "A Type 1 Guide to the Universe”introduces a new way to learn to thrive with diabetes. It is the first book to integrate the psychological and emotional aspects of dealing with diabetes into the core of its approach.

You can also watch Joe on several videos.


The full programme for all ages and groups attending Thriveabetes is available here and if I’ve convinced you enough to register before Christmas you can do so here.

Freestyle Libre on the LTI Upate


FreeStyle Libre Review Ireland It’s been over a year since the Abbott Freestyle Libre became available to purchase in Ireland. This product is a new way of monitoring blood glucose levels without finger pricking. Instead you use a reader device (which is just like the Freestyle Optium Neo meter) to scan a sensor that sits on your arm. And it has been a game changer in diabetes management for most who have used it.

I don’t know how many people are using the Libre in Ireland but from the chatter in the diabetes online community it would seem that the number of users is significant. And there are a lot more people who can’t afford it, so have to wait until it’s available on the Long Term Illness Scheme.

When is that going to happen? Is it going to happen?!? Any day now!!! Surely any day now. That’s my wishful thinking anyway.

If you are wondering what has happened in this process in the last 13/14 months I’ve put together a little summary which might be useful. And last June, I wrote this piece on what was happening then with the process of getting it included on the HSE long term illness scheme. I was very optimistic. I still am!

I should probably mention that I don't know anymore than any other member of the public. All the information below is in the public domain.



  • 2014 September Libre available in the UK and lots of Irish people were able to get their hands on it.
  • 2016 November Libre available for purchase in Ireland
  • 2017 February Abbott applied to include the Libre on the HSE long term illness scheme. The company published this statement on their website. With another update in August
  • 2017 September NHS announced that the FreeStyle Libre will be available on the NHS from November 1 (three years this took). Diabetes Ireland’s published this statement on their reaction to the announcement.
  • 2017 November 1st Libre included on an NHS reimbursement scheme
  • 2017 November 27th We wait! Still.



A lot of people, myself included, are people of action. I mean I do have a certain amount of patience but it’s has limits. So, if you would like to get this done and the Freestyle Libre included in the Long Term Illness scheme here are a couple of things you can do.


I know most of you have already done this and it's frustrating to have to do it a-gain! But this really helps strengthen the case for a speedy approval. Especially, if they hear from LOTS of their constituents. You can write a letter, email or telephone but it’s important that you contact ALL of your local TD’s. If you’re not sure who all your local elected representatives are, find them and their contact details here.

What to ask? Ask them to ask the HSE when the Freestyle Libre will be available on the Long Term Illness scheme and why it’s taking so long. They will submit a parliamentary question in the Dail that will be referred to the HSE who are legally required to answer. This is a fabulous way to spend our income tax and creates lots of extra work for people who then get motivated.



This change.org petition was started by Limerick Mum Louise Hackett, whose daughter has type 1 diabetes in December 2016. It had well over 4,000 signatures. There have been a couple of other petitions shared over the year but this one has the most signatures at well over 4,000 and it hasn’t been delivered to the Minister for Health, Simon Harris or the HSE just yet. A boost in the number of signatures would really help and then present it.



If you are paying for your Freestyle Libre at the moment please be aware there are money saving offers such as the occasional Free Shipping, etc. on the Freestyle Libre website, as well as claiming refunds through your tax return. More than this here.