A TEENAGER with diabetes has received an award for his efforts to raise awareness of the condition.

William Barker, a 17-year-old UTC South Durham student from Bishop Auckland, has lived with Type 1 diabetes since he was 15-years-old.

Diabetes UK presented him with the Young Person’s Outstanding Achievement Award during a fundraising event for the ‘Arctic Challenge,’ which he, his friends and supporters will embark on in the new year.

William received the award for his fundraising work as well as his efforts to raise awareness of diabetes by sharing his experience of being diagnosed and living with the condition, including through talks at schools.

Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood, and, if not managed well, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications.

The cause of diabetes is unknown and currently the condition isn’t preventable, and according to Diabetes UK it affects more people than any other serious health condition in the UK, even more so than dementia and cancer combined.

William said: “Living with Type 1 diabetes is difficult and can be relentless, but I decided not to let it get me down and to take control of my diabetes rather than letting it control me.

“I still play rugby and try to lead a normal life.

“I hope that by sharing my experiences and raising funds for Diabetes UK, I can help others living with the condition.”

William, who plays for Bishop Auckland Rugby Club, will be embarking on the ‘Arctic Challenge’ along with ten friends and supporters from the club.

Together they will take on various challenges over eight days in order to raise funds for Diabetes UK.

His mum, Linzi Heads, said: “We are incredibly proud of William, how he has handled his diagnosis and used his experiences to help others affected by diabetes.

"We are also hugely grateful to everyone involved in the Arctic Challenge and for all the support William has received from both Bishop Auckland Rugby Club and UTC South Durham.

"Special thanks to Gestamp Tallent Ltd at Newton Aycliffe who have sponsored William and to Teescraft Engineering Ltd, Bishop Auckland, for their support and generosity."

Clare Howarth, head of the North of England at Diabetes UK, said: “We are incredibly grateful to William for all his hard work and dedication to helping people with diabetes.

“We are honoured to recognise his amazing effort with this award and his support will help us to move even closer to our aim of creating a world where diabetes can do no harm.”