Jamie Lowe was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged 21 in 2015 after graduating from university. He works as a journalist and presenter in Bristol. Jamie’s recently started using a flash glucose monitor to manage the condition. He tells JDRF why he supports our work to gain everyone the same access to type 1 technology.
My heart is beating. It’s pounding so heavily that it’s louder than my dream. Whatever nonsense is playing out in my head is put on pause, and for a moment I become lucid. I have a choice, do I stay comfortable and asleep or do I address whatever is making my heart work overtime?
My smartphone is lying on the bedside table; with just a tap against a sensor on my body it will show me my blood glucose level. I force my eyes open and perform the test and discover that my blood sugar is dangerously low. It’s so low there isn’t even a number displayed on the screen, just ‘LO’ against a red background. If I’ve learned anything in four years living with type 1 diabetes, it’s that when the numbers aren’t showing you’re in trouble.
I sorted myself out quite quickly but the whole ordeal got me thinking. If I didn’t have this device – would I have bothered waking up? The convenience of having a flash glucose monitor helped me avoid a serious hypo.
Type 1 diabetes technology access
We’ll never know what might have happened if I stayed asleep and we’ll never know how many other people have had a similar experience. Access to a flash glucose monitor means I have a better understanding of what my body is doing and how it’s changing as the honeymoon phase of my diagnosis comes to an end.
My life with a very complex condition is now simpler in a massive way on a day-to-day level. The data the technology shows, especially the trend arrows, means I’ll most likely experience fewer of the scary moments that can happen with type 1 diabetes. I just wish everyone with the condition could say the same. I know that JDRF are working hard to make greater access to tech a reality. Plus I have huge respect for all the fundraisers from across the UK who support the charity’s work for positive change.
Make a Splash fundraisers are making a huge difference
Last year I met and filmed JDRF’s London Marathon runners to help JDRF raise awareness and vital funds. Some of the runners who took part have family and friends living with the condition. Some of the marathon runners have type 1 themselves. It was utterly inspirational to witness. This coming year, I’ll be following the progress of the charity’s Make A Splash challenge.
In 2019, 312 people took part in JDRF’s Make A Splash and raised just under £45,000. What a brilliant achievement for all those swimmers, everyone from the littlest supporter swimming a mile with their swimming class to supporters who have taken on the challenge to swim the length of the English Channel across the 100 days of the campaign. This year, I’m told that JDRF is hoping its amazing Make a Splash swimmers will collectively raise £73,000. I can’t wait to see how people’s lives improve as a result of Make A Splash fundraising.
JDRF’s work to improve access to type 1 technology
The charity is spearheading the way for improved access to type 1 technology. For instance, in November 2017 the Freestyle Libre became available on the NHS to those who fit the criteria and thanks to a JDRF and Diabetes UK campaign, an end to the postcode lottery for access to this technology was announced a year later.
JDRF in the UK and partner organisations secured a major victory in 2019 when NHS England agreed to freely provide CGMs to all women with type 1 diabetes during pregnancy following the success of the JDRF-funded CONCEPTT trial – the first study to show the benefits of CGM use during pregnancy.
That’s brilliant progress and I have faith the charity won’t stop until everyone in the UK living with type 1 diabetes who wants and would benefit from the technology can access it to help transform their lives.
Our 12 week Make a Splash swimming challenge runs until 6 April. Choose from four swimming distances to suit all ages and abilities by signing up for free today
Learn about Jamie Lowe’s volunteer work for JDRF