Family Members
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Beryl Smith
Born in 1935.
Overview:
Beryl Smith first met children with diabetes when she was a student nurse and junior staff nurse at Birmingham Children`s Hospital from 1953 to 1957. She gave up nursing after she got married and didn`t encounter diabetes again until her own daughter, Catherine, was diagnosed in 1964, at the age of five. Catherine had so-called ‘brittle` diabetes, with frequent hypos – until she received two islet transplants in 2006/7. Beryl`s husband, David, developed Type 2 diabetes in 1983. At first he was on tablets, but was able to manage on diet alone after he lost four and a half stone.

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Family Members 
Here you can listen to 25 family members of people with diabetes, including parents, children, siblings and spouses. They range from those who have had an official full-time role, with a Carer’s Allowance, to those who feel that their involvement with diabetes has been marginal.

The idea of interviewing family members came from people with diabetes recorded for this website who said they ‘could not have survived’ without the help of a relative. In some cases, they were referring to rescue from unconsciousness and in others to moral support with diet or exercise. In all these cases, they felt that the role of the family should form an important part of the history of diabetes care.

We have used the term ‘family member’ rather than ‘carer’, partly because a few of the interviewees have not been much involved in practical care and partly because some of those who have been greatly involved did not wish to be regarded as the ‘carer’ of someone they loved.

In addition to 22 interviews that are mainly about the experience of being a family member, we have included in this section 1 interview with a healthcare professional and 2 with people with diabetes who have also been involved in looking after members of their family.
 
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