£300k from charity ball to help study of diabetes

Grant Stott will act as compere. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Grant Stott will act as compere. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A CHARITY ball which has raised more than £300,000 over the last 15 years is helping to fund groundbreaking research which could help diabetics to ditch their insulin injections.

The Hummingbird Ball, which celebrates its 15th year tonight in the Sheraton Hotel is a key contributor to cutting-edge work at Edinburgh University which aims to make diabetics’ bodies produce insulin again.

Dr Shareen Forbes is attempting to perfect the process of islet cell transplantations which can kick-start the body into releasing insulin normally.

The research could mean that people with Type 1 diabetes – whose pancreases are unable to produce insulin – would no longer suffer from “hypos” when their body doesn’t have enough sugar to turn into energy, or need to inject insulin.

Dr Forbes’ work, which is funded until 2017, involves using hormones to make sure a recipient’s liver is more accepting of the transplanted cells which would make them work more effectively. It could also mean only one pancreas would be needed for each transplant.

Her research – and other diabetes work in Scotland – is why the Hummingbird Ball needs to raise thousands every year for charity Diabetes UK.

Organised by volunteers – most of whom have a personal connection to diabetes – the ball has raised £310,000 in its 15 years and tonight hopes to beat its record of £31,000 in one evening.

Craig Cameron, one of the event’s original organisers whose daughter has Type 1 diabetes, said: “When we arranged the first Hummingbird Ball in 2001 we thought it would be a one-off event. No-one could have imagined in those early days that we would reach 15 years and raise in excess of £300,000. We are so grateful to everyone who has supported this incredible achievement.

“Diabetes is a major health issue which affects over 276,000 people across Scotland including over 37,700 in Lothian. Diabetes UK is leading the way in cutting-edge research, including some groundbreaking projects like Dr Forbes’ work, which will have a positive impact on the lives of people affected by the condition.”

The black tie ball, which will be hosted by DJ Grant Stott, includes an auction, with items up for grabs including an evening at the ATP Tennis Finals as well as weekend hire of a Harley Davidson motorbike.