A dedicated volunteer who shed seven-and-a-half stones after being diagnosed with diabetes has won an award for her efforts to raise awareness of the condition.
Ramona Mulligan, 48, decided to change her life after discovering she had type two diabetes in 2009.
As well as losing weight and starting to exercise, she became a passionate campaigner, raising awareness of diabetes and specifically the prevention and management of type two diabetes.
She has appeared in a range of media, such as the Chorley Guardian and BBC Breakfast, and has completed running races, including the Greater Manchester Marathon, to raise money and awareness.
Her hard work has now been recognised as she received the Campaigning And Raising Awareness Award at Diabetes UK’s regional Inspire Awards.
Ramona, of Kiln Croft, Clayton-le-Woods, said: “I’m really honoured with the award.
“I have been working really closely with the media team at Diabetes UK to raise awareness and inspire people to get more active and live healthier lifestyles so we can beat diabetes and obesity.”
Stephen Ryan, regional manager at Diabetes UK, said: “Ramona’s work in raising awareness of type two diabetes, not just in the North West but nationally, has a huge impact on raising awareness of the issues faced by people living with condition.
“The passion Ramona demonstrates when campaigning to improve the lives of people living with diabetes is inspiring and it’s an honour to be celebrating this.”
Ramona credits nurse Jeanette Iman with helping her realise she could still live a long and healthy life after being diagnosed with diabetes.
She said: “My nurse Jeanette at Whittle Surgery took hold of me and said I didn’t have to die this way. All I needed to do was change my lifestyle habits, change my eating habits and become more active and I could beat it.”
She changed her eating habits, joined a 12-week NHS exercise programme called Activity For Life and attended an educational course named DESMOND to learn about nutrition and managing her condition. She also started running and lost seven-and-a-half stones.
It was when she applied for a place with Diabetes UK in the Great Manchester Run in 2014 that she shared her story and became involved with the charity.
Ramona, who moved from the USA to Chorley in 2004, has now shared her experience in newspapers, magazines, on radio and television.
She attended the Houses of Parliament for the launch of a report and asked the NHS and local government for support to prevent people dying young.
She has also taken up a volunteer role as service champion with Diabetes UK, helping hospitals and community care groups to achieve their targets in preventing deaths and amputations. Ramona plans to take part in her fifth Great Manchester Run in May to raise money for Diabetes UK and continues to raise awareness of diabetes.
She said: “Fortunately I had a wonderful experience with my nurse and I was able to get educational courses like DESMOND about living with diabetes.
“But not everybody has had that or Activity For Life or the opportunity to work with their specialist team like me.
“I want to make that available to everyone.
“I also want to offer hope to people and inspire them because I know how hard it is when you are struggling with a condition that’s life-threatening and you think you are never going to be able to lose the weight.
“You can absolutely achieve it if you set your mind to it.”