HRH The Crown Princess opening speech at the symposium in occasion of Barndiabetesfonden's 30th anniversary
(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Ladies and gentlemen.
Barndiabetesfonden, the Child Diabetes Foundation, was one of the first organizations for which I accepted patronage. This was in 1993 and I was 16 years old. A few years earlier, a close friend of mine had been diagnosed with diabetes type 1.
Through the foundation, I have had the opportunity to follow the scientific advances in diabetes research.
It has been fascinating – but also frustrating. So many children are falling ill with diabetes. But we still don’t know why. Nor do we know why incidence is so high right here in Sweden and Finland.
We need knowledge.
Above all, we need the knowledge that comes from research – knowledge that might help us prevent or cure diabetes.
And progress is definitely being made, for example in the exciting field of auto-antigen treatment, which aims to stop the body’s immune system from attacking the insulin-producing cells. The researchers here in Linköping are at the forefront in this area, and have been so ever since their ground-breaking experiments in the 1970s.
Barndiabetesfonden does an incredibly important job by raising money for research.
But we also need another kind of knowledge. In order to provide a safe and supportive environment for these children, and to help them manage school and everyday life, teachers, trainers and other adults need to learn about diabetes.
Again, I want to commend Barndiabetesfonden for their tireless work in educating the general public about diabetes.
At the beginning of this school year, the foundation’s chairman and founder, professor Johnny Ludvigsson did an interview on a national TV morning show.
You, Johnny, spoke of the fact that three out of four children with diabetes have no help at school to handle their disease.
All on their own, these children are expected take responsibility for an extremely complicated treatment of a life-threatening illness. I can only imagine the worry that their parents must feel.
Ladies and gentlemen. We don’t know when we will be able to cure diabetes, or who will make that great break-through.
But what we can do, today, all of us, is to work against prejudice and ignorance about diabetes.
Ladies and gentlemen: I am proud to be a patron of Barndiabetesfonden, and I look forward to following the progress of diabetes research in the years to come.
My warmest congratulations on your 30th anniversary – and the best of luck in the future!
I hereby declare the symposium open.