Tom Rush was announced the winner at a ceremony held in the Island Civic Centre in Lisburn, on Friday, July 19.
Tom, represents people living with diabetes in Northern Ireland in a number of roles, was the recipient of the 2019 Supporting Others Award. Tom was involved in the Modernising Diabetic Eye Screening group influencing how it could be improved for patients, he regularly engages with healthcare professionals and members of the public about diabetes, as well as working with local academic researchers, providing vital insight from the perspective of the person living with diabetes.
Tom said: “I didn’t expect this at all. I really enjoy volunteering and like to make sure that people living with diabetes are considered and involved in as much as possible. It means a lot that I have been able to help and I hope that I can continue to make a difference and help make life a bit better for people living with diabetes.”
The Inspire Awards recognise the invaluable contribution of the volunteers and groups that go above and beyond for people with diabetes.
Diabetes can affect anyone − in Northern Ireland there are over 100,000 people living with diabetes. If not managed well both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications, such as sight loss and amputations, but with the right treatment, knowledge and support people with diabetes can lead a full and healthy life.
Cathaoir McDermott, Interim National Director at Diabetes UK Northern Ireland, said: “Tom has undoubtedly made a real difference to the wider diabetes community and played an integral role in supporting the modernising of diabetic eye screening. We are delighted to be able to award Tom this award and thank him for all that he does, not just for Diabetes UK Northern Ireland but for everyone who is living with diabetes.
“Thank you to everyone who was nominated and to those who continue to support people living with diabetes. We could not do what we do without the tireless commitment of our volunteers.”
To find out more about becoming a volunteer for Diabetes UK, go to www.diabetes.org.uk/Get_involved/Volunteer/