Kathleen's 60 years of living with diabetes

Kathleen Excell was seven when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. But that hasn’t stopped her from living a long and happy life.

Mrs Excell, 67, says that before her diagnosis, she couldn’t understand why she was constantly thirsty, a key symptom of diabetes.

After her diagnosis, she received a book called So I Am Diabetic to help her understand the condition.

Late last month, Mrs Excell was one of 30 Victorians who went to Government House to be presented with a Kellion victory medal for living with diabetes for more than 60 years.

She says having diabetes has created a few challenges and she is now almost blind.

“It’s one of those things you deal with,” Mrs Excell says.

“I was a very obedient child. I ate what was put in front of me and it didn’t bother me a great deal.

‘‘I remember going to school and taking my insulin with me. It’s amazing what you can do when you’re 16.”

Mrs Excell, who was a teacher for 33 years, says her husband has been a “godsend”.

“He is my taxi-driver, shopper, cook, cleaner and general dogsbody.

“He helps out a great deal. He is one little bright spot in the whole business.”

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