Two women have been nominated for a special award recognising their efforts to increase awareness of diabetes.

Nationwide employee Elaine Sullivan, and Ellie Olds who works for the society’s catering partner Baxter Storey, were nominated for an Inspire Award from Diabetes UK.

These accolades celebrate the work of the charity’s volunteers who raise awareness of the condition to help combat the increase in people suffering from it, fundraise for research, improve the quality of care available and provide peer support.

“To be nominated for this award was completely unexpected but also such an honour,” said Ellie.

“You don’t do these things for the recognition,” added Elaine. "So for the charity to want to nominate us for what we had done, it was very humbling.”

The women were put forward for the supporting Diabetes UK category after holding awareness events for over 100 people at Nationwide’s head office in Swindon. These included a Know Your Risk session as well as a dietitian-approved meal in the onsite restaurant.

Ellie added: “I’ve got type one diabetes myself and so I’m really passionate about raising awareness of the condition. I don’t want anyone else to get it, and if they can prevent themselves from getting it then they should.

“I’ve had it since I was nine so it’s just my lifestyle now. But it’s something I always have to think about, it’s always on the back of your mind. It is tough but you have to get on with it.”

After receiving their nomination the pair attended the awards ceremony last month, held over Zoom because of the coronavirus lockdown.

“It was a lovely evening,” said Elaine. “Some of us got a bit dressed up and it was great to hear what people had been doing to help others. It was really inspiring.

“It’s so important to raise awareness of this condition. It’s by sharing stories that you get better understanding. If you have awareness sessions, you have support sessions and then you can celebrate and share stories. I think that’s absolutely key to supporting everybody,” Elaine added.

Ellie said: “People can live and not know they have diabetes for years and it can have really serious health implications. So it’s really important for people to be aware of the symptoms and also what can cause it.”

Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. If not managed both type one and two can lead to serious complications. With the right treatment and support people living with diabetes can lead a healthy life.