portrait

Nurse!

Another Asthma UK shoot. This is specialist respiratory nurse and all round nice lady, Suzie Regan, who works at the Brompton Hospital in London.

"Patients living with severe asthma often feel that their voice within the wider community, or within general healthcare practice, is not being heard. It is the job of the specialist respiratory nurse to ensure a platform is provided for their fears and concerns to be expressed."

The Treetop Pluckers

This is diabetic and musical father and son, Tom and Jed strumming together up a tree in the South Downs. Jed is a student at Brighton Institute of Modern Music. He says,

It's great having a dad with diabetes; he's given me some brilliant tips and let me into some type-1 trade secrets. During a gig, even with all that adrenaline, I'm always on top of my blood sugars.

Tom is the author of the number-one bestseller, 211 Things A Bright Boy Can Do and his next volume, A Gentleman's Bedside Book is out in the autumn. He says:

I feel so privileged to have been given this fascinating condition. After four decades, and some 47,000 injections, I wouldn't change a thing. Diabetes is as much a part of me as my moustache or my love of Islay malt whiskies. What's more, Jed understands his condition so well now that I never have to worry about him. It's been great.

Kicking Diabetes Into Touch

This is 13 year-old Aubi Bone. Oh and it's his dad, Andrew's cheesy headline. Likeable and enthusiastic, this is what Aubi says about himself....

"I was 10 years old when I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  It was a huge shock, although it does run in my father's side of the family. We've always eaten healthily, though, so my diet didn't have to change. I have always been very sporty and play rugby, football, tennis, basket-ball  and in the summer, athletics and swimming.  I also walk and cycle. All these are possible as long as I regulary test my blood-sugar - even in the middle of matches - and make sure that I have a bottle of lucozade to hand. I adjust my insulin according to the amount of exercise I am about to do and the carbohydrate I am about to eat. All the sport, and especially rugby, does make me more prone to "hypos", particularly at night, but they are easily fixed and I'd rather be a little low that high. I will not allow diabetes to stop me and, in any case, exercise is good, whoever you are.  Just be aware, tell everyone (all my friends know about my condition and what to do in an emergency) and never let it stop you!"

The Karate Kid

This is Matilda Rostron, my latest diabetic portrait and another inspiring young lady. She's 11 and has both type 1 diabetes and coeliacs disease. As well as having some impressive karate moves, she takes part in football, netball, swimming, cycling and tag rugby. She wears an insulin pump which she says make's life a lot easier but is complicated because as well as being aware of her blood sugar levels she can't east anything that contains gluten. She says:

I get sick of it especially at parties but the people at school are very caring and good about it, particularly Mrs Elliott who helps with lunchtimes and if I feel low.

Super Sophie

This is my latest diabetic portrait. The truly inspirational 19-year-old Sophie Constable who lives with both Down's Syndrome and Type 1 Diabetes. This is how her mum describes her..........

Sophie is passionate about life. She plays football for a girls' disability team, represents Hertfordshire at netball, swims,  and horesrides having come first in her event at the RDA National Championships 2 years ago. Sophie is a massive Man Utd supporter and went to Moscow for the Champions League Final 2 years ago and to Rome last year. She loves to travel and has visited, amongst others, Cuba, Egypt, India. Sophie's great interests now are music and dancing, specifically street dancing and belly dancing. She loves going to gigs. Sophie loves to cook and eat, she has recently taken up photography and just entered her first competition. Sophie went to mainstream schools and got 5 GCSE's, though she wasn't happy about the grades. She's now at college doing an IT course. Sophie has been an altar server at church for nearly 11 years which is something she is very proud of and particularly likes training up the young servers when they start. Sophie loves to raise money for charity and over the years has raised thousands of pounds. Mostly she auctions or raffles memorabilia she has been given at Manchester Utd but she has also organised quiz evenings. Sophie has given the money to different charities but mostly it has been for Africa.

The week after getting diabetes she said she loved it. She's never really minded the bl tests or insulin and loved the fact that she was geting " 5 meals a day" and always got priority in restaurants and on planes. For the first year it was all a breeze and I felt a bit of a fraud siitting in the diabetic out patient clinic.  Since then it's been more of a pain. As Sophie has Down's Syndrome as well it makes things a bit more complicated. During the day Sophie does her own bl tests and insulin and carb counts her packed lunch which she prepares herself for college. Night times are more difficult as she needs help with working out how much to eat for her night snack and the blood sugars can be unpredictable. We do blood tests at night, when she's asleep, and if she's hypo we give her food and she goes straight back to sleep. Occasionally she cheats but mostly she's very responsible about what she eats. Sophie's HbA1C, blood pressure, cholesterol, weight etc are always great, in fact she's very healthy.

Martina

Martina Navratilova who I shot for The Times last year. Sadly she has just announced that she has breast cancer, it has however, already been treated and the cancer was spotted early so she should almost certainly survive.

Possibly the most sucessfull female athlete ever, she was unassuming, friendly, funny and comfortable being photographed though determined to look happy and upbeat, however I did manage to catch this more moody shot between smiles.

Sasha and Harry

Sasha Playfoot, happy soul, talented horse rider and recently diagnosed diabetic who I just shot in Burnham, Berkshire. Here's the email she sent for the  picture caption.....

Hi James, Thanks for coming today, I had loads of fun! Did you get any good photos? Mum said you needed to know some details, so here they are; I'm 13 and was diagnosed with type 1 on January 8th 2009 and I now use an insulin pump. I've been horse-riding since I was 3 and the horse I was riding today is called Harry. Thanks again, Sasha