Ormesby man with diabetes wins national award after turning his life around

PUBLISHED: 14:47 05 January 2017 | UPDATED: 16:24 05 January 2017

Mark Bitters

Mark Bitters


A man with type 2 diabetes has received a prestigious national award in recognition of how he has successfully “turned his life around”.

A man with type 2 diabetes has received a prestigious national award in recognition of how he has successfully “turned his life around”.

Mark Bitters, of Ormesby, has been named Patient of the Year in the 2016 Celebrating DESMOND Awards.

It comes after the 48 year old man began attending a course called DESMOND, at the Kings Centre in Great Yarmouth.

The course – run by Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG – helped Mr Bitters slim down from 20 stone 9lb to 18 stone, reduce his blood pressure and almost halve his cholesterol level.

Since joining the course he has taken up a fitness regime, including hourly gym visits two or three times a week and dog walking.

The emergency medical technician, put aside his fears to join the group and shared his first-hand experience of dealing with the complications of diabetes including stroke, skin conditions and obesity.

Mr Bitters inspired the group by talking openly about his own challenges and how he worked to introduce healthy dietary choices when working shifts.

Eleanor Gemmell, who nominated Mr Bitters, said: “Mark in my opinion is a gentle giant. He had no idea how his input helped and effected the group.

“His impact and ability to share his beliefs and feelings and the changes in lifestyle he had begun made his participation powerful.”

Having completed the course, Mr Bitters would encourage others to take part.

He said: “Sometimes these courses can frighten the life out of you. However the atmosphere was very friendly and relaxed. I enjoyed the course, it was very informative and I learned a great deal.”

The Celebrating DESMOND Annual Awards were launched to reward excellence and good practice. This year there were five categories and teams were nominated from across the UK.

Bernie Stribling, national director of the DESMOND Programme, said: “The standard was high with a degree of excellence demonstrated by many of the entries. However, Mr Bitters showed star quality and a dedicated commitment.

“This has been proved by his weight loss and his new commitment to keeping fit.”

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