Record number celebrate 50 years living with diabetes

Nov. 29, 2017

The Diabetes Half Century Awards will be presented Nov. 29 at St. Joseph’s Hospital

London, Ontario – When Susan Huson was diagnosed with diabetes in 1967, the “good news”, she remembers being told, was that people with the condition could now live up to 50 years. She was 11 years old at the time.

“I did the math and thought, ‘well, I wouldn’t want to live to 61 anyway.’ It sounded so old. But here I am - age 61. It makes me happy to have reached 50 years living with diabetes. I love life. I have so much to live for that I need another 30 years.”

Huson is among this year’s recipients of St. Joseph’s Health Care London’s Diabetes Half Century Awards having lived well with diabetes for five decades. If she was diagnosed today, the “good news” would be very different. Huson would be told that people with diabetes are living long healthy lives – a testament to giant strides in care, knowledge and education. (Read Huson’s full story on St. Joseph’s website.)

The awards are presented annually by St. Joseph’s and Novo Nordisk Canada Inc. Patients with insulin-dependent diabetes who reach 50 years since their diagnosis are nominated by their endocrinologist. They are honoured for their personal commitment and diligence in looking after their health, and for acting as a role model to all those living with the condition. Each recipient receives a print of London’s Banting House and a special medal to commemorate their achievement.

This year, 24 individuals will receive the award, the largest group since St. Joseph’s began hosting the awards 14 years ago.

“We’ve had to move the ceremony to a bigger location this year,” says Dr. Irene Hramiak, Chief of the Centre for Diabetes Endocrinology and Metabolism at St. Joseph’s. “It has gotten larger as we have

more people marking this occasion. We care for more than 1,000 type 1 diabetes patients so it is wonderful that, this year, 24 individuals have reached this milestone. I hope we see a growth each year, indicating that type 1 patients are enjoying better health and more life.”

Media are invited to meet the recipients and talk to them about their experiences living with diabetes at this year’s ceremony:

What: Diabetes Half Century Awards, Nov. 29, from 11 am – 12 pm

Where: St. Joseph’s Hospital, 268 Grosvenor St., London, Zone E, Level 1, Meeting Room 1 (E-126)

For more information contact:

Dahlia Reich, Communication & Public Affairs
St. Joseph’s Health Care London
519 646-6100 ext. 65294, pager 10117
About St. Joseph’s Health Care London

Renowned for compassionate care, St. Joseph’s Health Care London is a leading academic health care centre in Canada dedicated to helping people live to their fullest by minimizing the effects of injury, disease and disability through excellence in care, teaching and research. Through partnership with Lawson Health Research Institute and our collaborative engagement with other health care and academic partners, St. Joseph’s has become an international leader in the areas of: chronic disease management; medical imaging; specialized mental health care; rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics; and surgery. St. Joseph’s operates through a wide range of hospital, clinic and long-term and community based settings, including: St. Joseph’s Hospital; Parkwood Institute; Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care; and the Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care. For more information, visit

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