A Type 1 Diabetes charity, set up by three OS brothers (Nick (g 13), James (g 17) and Oliver (g 12)) and their father, will be celebrating their 5th year of work in 2020. With Action4Diabetics (A4D) supporting nearly 400 young people in 6 different countries across Southeast Asia, they have managed to make some good progress!

It began in 2015 when Charles Toomey visited a rural hospital in southern Myanmar. He asked the doctor how many patients they had with Type 1 Diabetes. The doctor replied: ‘We do not have Type 1 Diabetes in Myanmar.’

Approximately 400,000 people live with the condition in the UK – including the likes of Theresa May and Henry Slade – so why was there no one with Type 1 Diabetes in Myanmar?

Type 1 Diabetes is an incurable condition that strikes indiscriminately. If untreated, it is fatal.

In the UK, managing Type 1 Diabetes with regular insulin injections can be effective. The likes of Theressa May and Henry Slade live full and active lives with the condition.

But soon after his visit to the hospital, Charles realised that something was not right: many young people across the region were clearly either not being diagnosed and could not access the Type 1 medication. Ultimately, they were not surviving.

So with his old friend, Jerry Gore, and with plenty of support from his sons James (g16), Nicholas (g13) and Oliver (g12) Toomey, Action4Diabetics (A4D) was founded A4D.

The organisation ensures that the children they support receive free access to insulin and blood testing equipment. Commonly a life-saving contribution.

Some of the challenges the charity have faced have not been easy to overcome. Type 1 Diabetes is incurable, so everything that the charity does has to keep sustainability front-of-mind. There have also been infrastructure and knowledge deficiencies that have had to bridge. For example, Insulin must be kept in a fridge and still, many of the children the charity supports do not have electricity.

Given the size of Southeast Asia, the charity knows that they still have a long way to go. But by working very closely with local partners and building partnerships with larger medical supply companies, A4D has managed to get the costs of care down to no more than $500 a year per patient. With a successful model and now a proven track record of success, there is much to be positive about the charity’s ability to save and transform more lives over the next five years and beyond.

If anyone would like to know more about the charity and ways in which people can get involved – through fundraising challenges or corporate collaborations – then please get in touch with Nicholas Toomey: nicholas@action4diabetics.org

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