Monday, 12 December 2011

The Diabetes Christmas Challenge!!!!

I may be a bit late with this post as we are only two weeks away from the season’s climax. Most people love the Party Season but for people with diabetes this can be the most difficult time of the year to stay on top of it. The Christmas season presents many temptations with big neon Christmas lights, trying to manage party after party, then, when Christmas day arrives you find you’re sitting around a lot in the presence of bad food choices.
How do you deal with having all this time on yours hands while you’re off work?

I remember the years when I was single and went home to my parents for Christmas for two weeks. There was lots of sitting around, eating and watching tv. I think that if I had that experience now I would have a difficult time getting back to normal in January.

These days, I’m lucky that my job is a stay-at-home Mom because my daily routine doesn’t change much over the holidays. On the years we have an Irish Christmas we spend only a couple of days away from home visiting family and I’m not a big fan of Christmas pudding and usually don’t have enough room for it after dinner. I tend to get my diabetes back on track when we leave the family.

On the years that we have a good old US Christmas the good stuff disappears very quickly when there are 21 people in the house, so if it’s there I have it, if it’s not it’s no big deal. Plus, we tend to organise lots of activities to keep the children entertained and the adults sane. You can’t keep 9 children cooped up in a house and expect them to be relatively quiet!

The fact that I don’t have that dread of all the Christmas parties means that I probably have a more positive attitude towards it. I LOVE the build up towards it more than the actual day itself. I love buying presents, I do miss having parties to go to but not that much, I love the lights and decorations, I love sending Christmas cards … and getting them.

My tip to you would be to remember that it’s only really one week, keep your head and insulin is your friend. Happy Holidays and wishing you a healthy and fit new year.

Friday, 2 December 2011

One of those happy/sad moments

The Story of Jim's Christmas Lights.
In September 2010, I was contacted by a gentleman named Jim O'Driscoll who lived in my town. You see every year he would decorate his house and garden with Christmas lights, snowmen & reindeer, extreme style and use his love of this to give something back to the community by asking people who came to see them for a small donation for charity.

Jim had done this for 10 years and raised thousands for many good causes including; Crumblin’s Children’s Hospital, Cahercalla Hospice and the Clare Sunset Foundation, among others.
As a representative of the local Diabetes Ireland branch I jump at the chance of being the benefactors of this. Jim was so enthusiastic about raising money for diabetes especially when he heard that there was a local branch and because he had Type 2 diabetes for about 20 years.

Sadly, Jim became seriously ill in November and passed away from the complications of his diabetes in February 2011, at the age of 58 before this could become a reality. Because of this, Jim’s wife, Ann want to see his wish through and is dedicating the lights to his memory this year.
Jim's Christmas Lights will officially be switched on at 5:30pm on the 8th of December at No. 75 Elm Park, (behind Ennis Swimming Pool) Gort Road, Ennis, Co. Clare.

On Saturday, the 10th of December, between 4pm and 7pm, there will be a special guest appearance from Santa Claus. “Everyone’s invited and we’ll be having mince pies, mulled wine, hot food and some treats for the children” says Ann O’Driscoll.

The lights can be seen at No. 75 Elm Park, Gort Road, Ennis (behind Ennis Swimming Pool) every evening from the 8th of December to the 6th of January between 4 – 11pm.
The Clare branch of Diabetes Ireland hopes that lots of families from Ennis and the surrounding areas in Co. Clare will come out to see and enjoy Jim’s Christmas Lights and to support his wish to raise money for diabetes awareness and education. People can also make a donation in Jim’s memory to Diabetes Ireland by calling 1850 909 909 or by logging onto and clicking the “Quick Donate” icon.

Proceeds from Jim's Lights a few years ago to The Children's Medical Research Foundation. From left: Gerry Cully, Jim O' Driscoll, Fr. Martin Blake and Anne O' Driscoll. Photograph by Yvonne Vaughan, The Clare People.