Oar-some! Olympic hero backs Bradford health campaign

A Bradford health campaign has received an ‘oar-some’ boost – the backing of one of the country’s top Olympic heroes.

Five-times rowing gold medal winner, Sir Steve Redgrave, CBE has sent a message of support, endorsing the Bradford Beating Diabetes (BBD) project, launched by NHS Bradford City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG.)

In his message, he describes the innovative and pro-active campaign as “wonderful and potentially life-changing” and says it could set an example for others to follow.

Sir Steve, who was himself diagnosed with diabetes in 1997, has become the source of inspiration for many with the condition, and when he heard of the Bradford project he sent the hard-working team a ringing endorsement.
He said: “Bradford Beating Diabetes (BBD) is a wonderful and potentially life-changing campaign. To see the people of Bradford being so proactive about tackling diabetes sets a great example.

“By identifying those who are at high risk of developing diabetes, it allows them to learn and adopt simple, effective health and lifestyle changes which will significantly reduce their chances of developing diabetes.

“This support and awareness campaign has also allowed the correct care to be given to new diabetic patients whilst raising awareness of diabetes in the community as a whole.

“I wish everyone involved in BBD all the best and hope to see many more campaigns across the country raise awareness in managing a healthy active lifestyle.”

There are over 7,500 diabetic patients in the City area with an additional 5,700 people at moderate or high risk of developing the most common type of diabetes, Type 2.

The BBD campaign, launched in November 2013, on World Diabetes Day has been shortlisted for a major national healthcare award – the 2014 Primary Care Innovation Award by the Health Service Journal (HSJ.)

Its aim is to raise awareness of the disease and to prevent people from developing it. It also supports those who are currently being treated for diabetes, ensuring they receive the correct health care in order to manage their symptoms and prevent any related, serious conditions from developing.

As a result of the campaign, there are now nearly 800 newly-diagnosed patients in the city. Many of these have been enrolled on Intensive Lifestyle Change Programme (ILCP) sessions, run by specially-trained BBD Champions - a mix of volunteers, practice staff, health trainers and people who have all previously worked as health champions – all of whom are now committed to making sure people receive the right treatment and support.

The BBD team has also put together a 9 care passport for patients to keep a record of their vital diabetes health checks and is currently working with local restaurants to devise healthier options for take-away dishes.

Sir Steve has won many honours in his sport, including six Olympic medals – the famous five golds and a bronze in the Coxed Pairs in 1988.

When first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1997, he initially thought his career may be over but he sought the guidance of medical experts and went on to win his fifth gold medal at the Sydney Olympics. It was proof that diabetes didn’t have to mean the end to athletic achievement.

Today, he often receives emails from people who have recently been diagnosed and are adapting to life with the condition.

Sir Steve, who was awarded the MBE in 1987 and the CBE a decade later, said: “There is no reason why you still can’t achieve your dreams.”
Dr Muhammad Adeel Iqbal, GP lead for long-term conditions at Bradford City CCG said:  “The aim of our campaign is to prevent as many City patients as we can from developing diabetes, as well as providing excellent care and advice to those who have the condition and we are now seeing some excellent results.

“To have Sir Steve Redgrave endorse the BBD campaign is wonderful, a real boost for all of us involved and we are honoured to have his backing. Sir Steve is proof that people with diabetes can live a full and rewarding life with the correct healthcare and support.

“We hope that in the not too distance future he might be able to visit Bradford and the BBD team and hear more about the campaign. He will be given a very warm welcome.”

Find out more about the BBD campaign.

To read more about Sir Steve Redgrave, please visit: http://www.steveredgrave.com/index.pl