Trustee Member – Advocacy, Community & Events
Honorary Member of International Society of Pediatric & Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD); Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) Associate Fellow; International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Lifetime Achievement Award 2019; Citizen of Honor in Targu Mures, Romania; London Borough of Bexley Civic Award; BA Hons in Media Writing. Gavin Griffiths is the founder and trustee member of DiAthlete, having lived with type 1 diabetes since diagnosis in January 2000. He has accomplished over 100 endurance challenges around the world, including ultra endurance feats such as running 30 marathons in 30 days from John O’Groats to Land’s End, and has fund-raised over GBP £75,000 for various charities associated to the diabetes cause.
“Over many years now we have connected communities together, shared personal stories and experiences online, made fun and practical events to break down the various areas to understand about type 1 diabetes + the psychological aspects of living with an autoimmune condition, and been active at trying to raise some funds for essential causes within our network… so it was about time we made this platform through DiAthlete grow as a sustainable charity. We aspire to maintain our grassroots level activities across the UK to support people living with type 1 diabetes: adults, children, family members and health teams too – reaching hospitals, schools and local communities, along with advancing media awareness of this condition. Education is important with this condition, but so too is how it is provided; considering the emotional side to empower a self-willingness to work with the many demands of this condition independently. I once worked against my diabetes when in younger years, bottling up my feelings and isolating myself with this. It is essential we don’t have to feel alone with this, that we don’t view it as the enemy in our life but more of a competitor; in order to be a true champion you’ve got to respect your competition – DiAthlete is not about being a physical athlete, unless that is your goal, but it shares those similarities of what makes an athlete and transitioning that into our diabetes life: determination, resilience, discipline, respect, confidence, motivation, leadership, optimism, humility, focus, vulnerability, instinct, fighting-spirit.
Trustee Member – Media & Networking
“I have lived with type one Diabetes for almost 20years, since my diagnosis at the age of 17 2018 I was blessed to receive a Pancreas transplant along with my life saving kidney transplant. I am now living free of diabetes. I no longer require insulin therapy and have a healthy fully functional pancreas.
So why am I still immersed in the world of diabetes? Because I understand only too well how this disease is completely unique, unlike any other, one requires 24/7 care and diligence from the patient and carers. They require support, education and empowerment to live with the disease and without those fundamental tools the disease can be the single most devastating diagnosis for anyone to deal with. I want to be part of a movement that passes on the skills and tools needed to deal with the disease. I am passionate about helping those living and dealing with t1d and I want pass on what I have learnt through my own experience.
I write a blog about living with my conditions and how to live life with limitations. I try to keep things positive and upbeat, whilst at the same time, not shying away from important issues such as demanding better health care, and how to cope with sight loss, which I have had to deal with since losing vision in my right eye due to diabetes complications. My blog has a large wide spread following from USA, Europe and Asia. My connected social pages also have a good amount of impressions and I have over 2k followers on Instagram.
I have given talks in schools and to small adolescents about my blog. Along with my sister who is a pastoral carer in a secondary school in Kent. We successfully implemented a monthly meet up for the diabetic students within the school and gave them the structure within that meet up to share and discuss their own diabetes stories and troubleshoot any difficulties they were facing. It was a successful programme that teachers in the school committed to supporting the framework for the meet up.
My career in TV and Film Production is where my knowledge of the media and marketing industry was born and raised, leading me to have involvement in crowdfunding, campaigning, fundraising, corporate responsibility and working alongside charities such as MIND, Papyrus and England Amputees Football Club.
Teens Unite is a small charity local to my home town. It helps those of teenage years and beyond, living with life limiting cancers and diseases. I have become a registered volunteer, helping out with small scale tasks, event stewarding, fundraising, event organising and data and administrative tasks within the organisations headquarters. www.teensunite.org.uk
A charity that have supported me some of my illness is The Isabel Hospice. They have given me personal support and a network of friendship and advocacy. In turn when I have become less dependent on the help, I have began raising awareness, fundraising and support for them through social media and networking. www.isabelhospice.org.uk
Fundraising for Help For Heroes has been a passion of a family member of mine and in turn, I have leant my support to him, in organising boxing events that donate funds to H4H I am responsible for gathering the merchandise that is sold on the event and also personally asking face to face for gift donations. www.help4heroes.co.uk
JDRF, Diabetes UK, NHS England, Organ Donation and Give Blood campaigns have all been helped in a small way just simply by raising awareness through my personal and my blogs social media platforms.
My involvement with The DiAthlete came about when I met Gavin at a Type One Diabetes Patient Day at Addenbrookes Hospital where I received my Kidney and pancreas transplant. We met back in 2005 and hearing Gavins personal story and his ambition to change the way an individual views their own diabetes, spurred me on to make a similar impact. He and I have become good friends and share a focus and vision to empower people living with the condition to be their own champion and take control of their lives. I have attended conferences held by Gavin and 2018 I was able to attend to first DiAdvocates Summer Camp where we saw the birth of a very important movement to empower those with Diabetes.
Trustee Member – Secretarial & Risk Assessments
As a parent of a child with Type 1 Diabetes, Jennifer has experience in caring for her son Andrew. Throughout the last 3 years Jennifer has learnt knowledge on the condition and how to manage this effectively from managing insulin doses through injections, carbohydrate counting meals and the use of technology such as insulin pump and continuous glucose monitors. To gain more insight and knowledge on the condition Jennifer has attended JDRF insight conferences with particular interest to the support available for those diagnosed and the parents affected. Funds have also been raised for JDRF by doing local events at her sons’ primary school, which included teaching a class of year 6 students on type 1 diabetes history, management and mathematic involvement which created a great discussion and positive support and understanding by the students. This has also been replicated through work as Jennifer has provided awareness sessions, Public speaking at conferences to senior leaders about what it means to be a carer and insights to the condition, ensuring that hidden disability is a focus on the Diversity & Inclusion agenda. With a strong passion to reach the wider community, Jennifer assisted Gavin in arranging the Birmingham marathon during his ’25 marathons in 30 days’ challenge during May 2017. Using experience and skills of organising she was able to arrange a whole school assembly and active session with a local primary school to start, interacting with a number of NHS care providers during the route and completing the event at a nationally recognised football stadium. The positive collaboration also inspired her son to run alongside Gavin to complete the event. Throughout her career Jennifer has held a number of positions including, office manager, personal assistant, customer manager and most recently a risk manager for Ministry of Defence. Using a multi range of skills such as stakeholder management, project management and collaboration Jennifer founded the Defence Infrastructure Organisation Disability Network in January 2018, providing support for colleagues with disabilities including hidden disabilities and those who care for a loved one with varying conditions. The network has matured over the last 2 years with established governance in place which has aided a number of initiatives to be introduced MOD wide such as the carers passport and ensuring accessibility is both recognised and supported across the organisation. In December 2019 Jennifer was awarded a DIO recognised values award for integrity for founding the network which was presented to her by the Chief Executive. In previous years Jennifer has also been nominated for both engagement and collaboration awards whilst working for the same organisation.
Through personal experiences and skills that Jennifer has excelled in throughout her career she will be able to apply these to her role within the Diathlete Foundation to ensure the secretariat role is fulfilled with passion, professionalism and a strong willingness to help the charity become established within the community to achieve it objectives.
Trustee Member – Finance & Administration
“I am a parent of a child with type 1. My son Jarvis was diagnosed in 2008, when he was 4 years old, he is now 17.
Because of his age on diagnosis, I took charge of looking after his diabetes, obviously as he has grown, he has taken on the responsibility of looking after himself, although he still likes me to do his cannula change. As his parent it can be difficult to take a step back and allow him to take the control.
Jarvis is very keen on sport, he has played football since the age of 6 and has recently moved up to senior football, he also enjoys working out, jogging and boxing.
We as a family, have known Gavin for several years and have followed and supported him.
I was thrilled when asked to be a trustee of the DiAthlete charity, as I believe in what it stands for and know it will help many others living with diabetes.”