Living with Diabetes: Yenda man shares his story after winning Kellion Medal

Yenda’s Lance Brissenden was just 15 years old when he suddenly developed an uncontrollable thirst. 

“I couldn’t go ten minutes without needing to have a drink of water… I was also losing lots of weight”. 

Mr Brissdenden was soon taken to hospital, where he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

But he never let it control his life, and was recently awarded the Diabetes NSW and ACT Kellion Medal, which recognizes his achievement of living with diabetes for 50 years.

Mr Brissenden, who ran a gun shop in Griffith for 35 years, said he’s managed to life a fairly conventional life, without major complications. 

“The more regular you are with your routines, the better… I eat at the same times each day and do regular exercise”. 

“I eat everything, the amount you eat is important… I have small portions”. 

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when your body either does not make insulin or when the insulin it does make is in insufficient quantities or does not work properly

More than three million or one in four Australian adults over the age of 25 have either diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance (pre-diabetes). There are two main types: type 1 diabetes, a disease which is usually diagnosed in childhood and requires injections of insulin and type 2 diabetes, which represents 85-90 percent of all cases.  

Mr Brissenden said the amount of young people with type 2 diabetes these says is disturbing, something he attributes to increased sugar consumption and childhood obesity.

“Back it the day, type 2 diabetes was something you’d only find in 50, 60 and 70 year olds”. 

The Kellion Awards were named after the late Claude Kellion, who made an outstanding contribution towards diabetes in Australia following the untimely death of his son John, in 1972. At 38 years of age, John died due to complications with diabetes and as a result, Mr Kellion established the Kellion Diabetes Foundation to fund much needed research.

For more information on diabetes, visit the Diabetes NSW website