Entrepreneurial businesswoman Jeanette Forbes has been appointed Chairperson of the Scottish Development Group for type 1 diabetes charity, JDRF.
Jeanette who is Chief Executive and founder of PCL Group, and a former Business Women Scotland Inspirational Woman of the Year, steps up to the role after nearly three years on the group, which helps drive awareness and fundraising for JDRF , a charity which funds research into type 1 diabetes.
Inspired both by those who live with type 1 diabetes and JDRF's ground-breaking research, Jeanette believes that Scotland can play a pivotal role in finding the cure to the autoimmune condition.
Taking up the position, Jeanette explains that she was also drawn to JDRF because of its strong historical links to Aberdeen and wants to make people aware of Scotland’s role in type 1 diabetes scientific research. She said:
“A former PhD student of Aberdeen University and biochemist, J.J.R Macleod is widely credited for his role in the discovery of insulin. That historical link makes me believe that we can – and should – do so much more. I am in awe of the scientific research that is currently happening in type 1 diabetes from the artificial pancreas to beta cell replacement and want to emphasise that we can all play an important part in finding the cure.”
Jeanette, who is a former Chair with Children 1st, also understands that raising awareness of type 1 diabetes is a big challenge. She had her own eyes opened to the impact of the condition after getting to know people and families who have to cope with endless insulin injections and the constant worry of hypos, when blood glucose levels drop dangerously low.
A child diagnosed with diabetes at the age of five will be subject to more than 19,000 insulin injections and 50,000 finger prick blood tests by the time they are 18.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys insulin producing cells in the pancreas. It is not yet known why this happens, though the condition is not linked to lifestyle.
“Parents of children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes must have such strength to deal with the sleepless nights and endless planning around meals and insulin injections. Type 1 diabetes can hit anyone at any age and once it does you realise just how many people it affects – parents, teachers, baby-sitters, work colleagues, who all have to know what to do to keep the person safe and more importantly alive.
“JDRF is a charity that is making a genuine difference. Its focus on research has very clear goals. Finding a cure is like completing a very big jigsaw and the funds we raise are carefully allocated to ensure every piece of that jigsaw is put into place.
“It is a wonderful charity to be part of because it combines great compassion for those living with type 1, with a clear pursuit of the cure that would put an end to the challenges those with the condition face on a day-to-day basis.”