WARRNAMBOOL’S Gary Lucas is to be honoured during National Diabetes Week from July 9-15.
Mr Lucas will receive Diabetes Victoria’s Kellion Victory Medal.
The award is acknowledgment of Mr Lucas having survived more than 60 years living with type 1 diabetes.
Mr Lucas said the pending award was somewhat bittersweet.
“To be honest, I would prefer not to be getting this award, I’d rather not have diabetes” Mr Lucas said.
“But of course I have, so maybe the award will give people with diabetes some incentive and shows that you can live long term with diabetes if you look after yourself.”
Mr Lucas was diagnosed with diabetes when he was four.
Despite his young age, Mr Lucas remembers crying and trying to run away as he lined up for his first insulin injection.
“I’m pretty sure they caught me very soon after,” he said with a laugh.
“Back in those days, you only got one needle to use every three-to-six months and I remember dad used to keep it sharp with sandpaper.”
While his father Alec got the needle ready, it was Mr Lucas’ mother Carmel who was responsible for the overseeing of his diabetes management as a child.
Mrs Lucas said the Kellion Victory Medal was a just reward for her son.
“As a child, Gary did not let his diabetes hold him back,” Mrs Lucas said. “He lived life to the fullest, as he has always done.”
Mr Lucas said his parents played an important part in his acceptance and ongoing treatment of diabetes, as had his wife Carol and their three children and seven grandchildren.
“I would not be here today without them,” he said.
“In particular Carol, who is an amazing support.”
Type 1 diabetes has not stopped Mr Lucas making a significant contribution to the wider community.
He has been an influential figure in the south-west union movement and a prominent social advocate.
He was also involved in the restoration of the Koroit Railway Station and the beginning of the Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail.
His sporting endeavours included playing competitive table tennis and training greyhounds.
Diabetes Victoria chief executive Craig Bennett said the long-term survival of those with type 1 diabetes had dramatically improved over the decades.
He praised Mr Lucas for his resilience.
“It is a remarkable achievement to have lived with diabetes for so many decades,” he said.