Letter: H G Wells birthday highlights how far diabetes awareness and treatment has come

Date published: 23 September 2017

Dear Editor,

The 21 September marks the birthday of H G Wells, a father of science fiction. Wells was diagnosed with diabetes in his early 60s, and in 1934 he announced the formation of the Diabetic Association (now Diabetes UK) with a letter to a national newspaper.

Our first research grant was awarded the very next year: £50, the equivalent of around £3,000 in today’s money. Fast-forward to 2017, and we’re backing 130 research projects across the UK, worth a total of £25 million.

Radical from the beginning, the charity was open to “rich or poor, for mutual aid or assistance to promote the study, the diffusion of knowledge and the proper treatment of diabetes.”

Since then, we’ve never shied away from the fight against diabetes; whether by influencing policy, driving improvements in care or funding pioneering research, together we’ve done whatever it takes to fight diabetes.

We campaigned for free access to insulin, and the creation of the National Health Service.

This year we started to campaign to make Flash Glucose Monitoring, a life-changing technology for many people with diabetes, available on the NHS. And last week, together, we made it happen.

Our vision is a world where diabetes can do no harm, and we are still far from achieving that. Diabetes is the most devastating and fastest growing health crisis of our time. About 4.5 million people in the UK are living with the condition, and 11.9 million are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

There is currently no cure.

As the leading UK charity for people affected by diabetes it is our responsibility to lead the fight against the growing crisis. This fight is one that involves all of us – sharing knowledge and taking diabetes on together.

For more information about diabetes care and support, research and technology, visit:

Stephen Ryan,
Head of the North
Diabetes UK

The views expressed are those of the author of the letter and not those of Oldham Chronicle.