Bedford teen shortlisted for national award for fundraising efforts towards diabetes cure

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A diabetic teenager who takes part in research, fundraises and supports other young people with the disease, has entered a competition that hails ‘giving to others’.

Dan Walls, of Castle Barns, Bletsoe, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes five years ago – but since then he has become a charity ambassador for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

The 14-year-old has been nominated for the Atlas Young People of the Year awards or ‘YOPEYs’ – Oscars for young people who ‘give to others’.
There will be at least two Bedfordshire Young People of the Year. YOPEY is open to people aged from 10 to 25, who should live, work or study in Bedfordshire.

Dan was nominated by his mum, Susan Walls, who said: “Often times are tough.

“He has had many, many blood tests, cannula changes and hospital visits but Dan has found that helping others and volunteering with JDRF has really helped him deal with this illness.”

Dan has helped to organise two sponsored walks and an indoor skydive, which together raised over £10,000.

He also helped run a sports education day in Bedford and attended other events in the town to represent JDRF.

He has been to Parliament to lobby MPs for better care for children with his condition.

About diabetes, Dan said: “I have to be very grown-up taking care of myself otherwise I will become ill very quickly.”

YOPEY was founded by Tony Gearing, who said: “There are many young people in Bedfordshire doing wonderful things for others.

“It’s just that they live in the shadow of a well-publicised anti-social minority.

“Dan is clearly dedicated to find a cure for type 1 diabetes. If one is found I am sure he will have a hand in its discovery.”

Do you know somebody who deserves the title Young Person of the Year? To nominate visit www.yopey.org