For World Diabetes Day, JDRF is highlighting the importance of the support network of friends and family for someone with type 1 diabetes.
Caius Pawson is the founder of the Young Turks record label which he launched in 2006 – just a couple of years after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Caius has been on the committee of the spectacularly successful fundraising event, The Sugarplum Dinner, in aid of JDRF, which is taking place this World Diabetes Day.
JDRF caught up with Caius ahead of the big night on Thursday 14 November, to ask him about his support network, and the importance of raising awareness of the condition:
Please can you tell us about the support you receive from your friends and family?
A support network is everything. It’s crucial that all diabetics, indeed all humans suffering from any serious condition, are surrounded by people who both understand and care for what they’re going through.
When I was 18 I was living in Salamanca, western Spain where I was learning Spanish. My father and stepmother came to visit me, and saw that I had lost a third of my body weight. I was peeing 25 times a day, and drinking about 15 litres of liquids, but thought the two were linked and a natural effect of each other.
My eyesight was going blurry for hours of the day as well, which I put down to ‘old age’. Despite the heavy weight of all this evidence, I was blind to the fact I could be seriously ill.
My parents saw right through my delusions. The doctors in Spain were so shocked by the state I was in that I was rushed to the trauma ward of a hospital in Madrid.
From that moment on I have been looked after and received wonderful care from my family. Without their support and concern, I’d never have taken it seriously.
And without their studious learning about the condition and their deep compassion, I would not have been able to live a healthy and balanced life with type 1 diabetes.
The theme for the Sugarplum Dinner is: ‘If you believe, anything is possible…’ how does this message resonate with you?
This message completely resonates with me. I’ve always lived by the idea that if you can see it, you can make it.
JDRF has allowed me to see a future where type 1 eventually won’t exist. Beyond the work it is doing to eradicate it and make it easier to live with, JDRF also brings people with diabetes together.
Being able to see other people not just survive but thrive has really helped me to make a better reality of my life with diabetes.
And when it comes to the night of the Sugarplum Dinner, once again I will be amazed at how so many people can be brought together for something like diabetes.
Sugarplum is on World Diabetes Day – how important do you think it is to raise awareness of the condition?
Whilst 400,000 people live with type 1 diabetes in the UK, there are still a lot of misconceptions around the condition.
When I was younger, my friends thought I’d developed type 1 diabetes because of my penchant for cranberry juice. There was a total lack of understanding of what it was and what caused it.
However, Jubie Wigan and JDRF made me believe that putting on an event like this was possible. That the money raised will contribute to finding the cure one day.
What differences have the technology treatments for type 1 diabetes, which the Sugarplum dinners have helped to fund, made to you?
Just over a year ago I was having to make myself bleed eight times a day to get a snapshot of my sugar levels, with no indication if they were on the up, going down or flat lining.
The vast majority of my diabetes treatment was guess work. Now I have a testing kit that constantly monitors my glucose levels, allowing me to always know what my sugar levels are and where they’re going. As a result my health has improved drastically.
And it’s not stopping there. In a few years we’ll have systems that manage the entire process for us. Our children’s generation will never have to put up with what we do, if we can help to make a change now.
Your friends Mark Ronson and Florence Welch are supporting the night, how did that come about?
I simply told them that type 1s are the chosen ones – that our pancreas losing its ability to create insulin gives us magic powers – and that if they ever wanted to work in this town again, they should probably come and entertain us at the Sugarplum Dinner.
Given they are two people who know how to spot an opportunity, it was a no-brainer for them to support Sugarplum as well as entertain us on the night!