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For Edward Lukins, a typical day starts at 4:30am.

He gets the kids ready for school, and sees his wife off to her work on the farm. He then walks 2.5km to the bus stop and gets off three stops early to get in a bit more exercise before he starts work for the day.

As Diabetes SA’s Membership Liaison Officer, Edward’s job is to contact people once they are registered on the NDSS. He explains all the benefits and services on offer and encourages them to take an active part in their membership.

“I’m often the first point of contact for someone after they’ve been diagnosed,” he says. “What they need is empathy to understand they’re definitely not alone – that we are here to support them for whatever their needs may be. Sometimes at first they don’t know what they need. So they turn to us to get the ball rolling.”

For Edward, it’s a highly personal choice to work with South Australians on that journey. “It’s what I live for. What I’ve gone through with my own type 2 diabetes, I want to do what I can to help other people. I think it’s important for people to know that diabetes isn’t just a diagnosis. It does not in any way limit what you can do. You just have to take that bit of extra care of yourself.”

Edward is well aware of the potential long-term effects of not taking extra care. “In addition to the well-known physical ones, diabetes can have a mental impact as well. Or feelings of guilt if you’re not following your healthcare plan. You can feel very alone with your diabetes.”

Having lived with type 2 for 12 years, he feels “it’s weirdly helped me! I look after myself a lot more than in my late-20s. Now I’m in my mid-40s I’m a lot healthier than I have ever been at any stage in my adult life.” Edward’s diagnosis helped him to focus even more on making good choices – including selling the second car and walking kilometres every day.

As the first point of contact, Edward gets such satisfaction from hearing the change in people’s voice. “It’s that relief when they realise they’re definitely not alone. We want you to know we’re here for you. You’re the whole reason we’ve been here for 65 years.

“Diabetes is our everyday, it’s what we do, it’s our passion.”

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