Medical Detection Dogs, has been awarded the 2015 Quality in Care in Diabetes, People’s Award.
The charity, based just outside of Milton Keynes, trains dogs to assist individuals with long-term life-threatening conditions including brittle type 1 diabetes, Addison’s, POT’s, narcolepsy and severe nut allergies.
The charity co founded in 2008 by Dr Claire Guest and Dr John Church has provided 62 individuals with medical alert assistance dogs, trained to alert their owners, to imminent medical crises, such as hypoglycaemic attacks, using the power of their noses.
The charity was nominated by beneficiaries of the charity, who explained the work that this team do and what it means to their and their family’s lives.
One of these beneficiaries is Claire Moon, who suffers from brittle type 1 diabetes, meaning she gets none of the usual symptoms that her blood sugar levels are becoming dangerously high or low, such as dizziness or blurred vision.
Before she was partnered with her medical alert assistance dog Magic, an energetic golden Labrador, she would have to stay awake, or wake up every hour overnight, testing her blood sugars 20 times a day.
Now Magic remains by her side and by smelling Claire’s breath, he can tell when her glucose levels go below 4.5 on the scale and alerts her by nudging, licking or bringing her diabetes testing kit.
Claire Moon commented: “The charity has changed my life completely. Magic has given me my independence back. I work in a hospital and Magic is always there with me and I don’t know who does the patients more good, him or me!”
Chris Gardner from Manchester is another type 1 diabetes sufferer who has had his life turned around by receiving his medical alert assistance dog, Jade, from the charity.
Chris said: “I couldn’t imagine life without Jade and to be honest I don’t know how we ever managed without her. She is just so amazing! She has made me realise what life is meant to be. Lived to full potential and if you had asked me that a year ago I would have just said my life was just an existence.
“It’s not just me who benefits from Jade, it’s my whole family. The reassurance that my wife has now, enables her to nip to the shop and know that I will be fine as Jade will tell me if anything is wrong. She has had a huge weight lifted off her shoulders.
“I know I have already said this but words really cannot describe how grateful I am to have Jade. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved in training these amazing dogs. Their hard work really does transform people’s lives like mine.”
Representatives of Medical Detection Dogs, Dr Claire Guest, Lydia Swanson, Helen Marsden and Dawne Vosper, attended the ceremony to accept the award on behalf of the whole team.
Dr Claire Guest said: “We are so grateful to Quality in Care and Diabetes UK for this award. One of the most rewarding aspects of our day-to-day work is to see our partners rediscovering their confidence and independence as they build a relationship with their medical alert assistance dog.
“We always take great care to match people and dogs who have great chemistry together as the strong bond they form will ultimately save lives.
“We want to help many more people struggling to manage very difficult conditions. Our waiting list is currently four years and we are doing everything we can to raise funds to train more dogs. We receive no government funding and rely entirely on kind donations from the public.”
The People’s Award, supported by Diabetes UK, aims to recognise someone very special who cares for people with diabetes. The award is presented to someone who has made a real difference to the lives of children, young people and adults with diabetes and their families, and goes above and beyond the call of duty to help and support them.
Quality in Care (QiC) is a programme that recognises good practice in patient care and joint working in key therapy areas and allows these schemes to be shared and disseminated on a national level.
The award ceremony was supported by a number of companies including Sanofi and took place last night (Thursday) in at Sanofi’s headquarters in Guildford.