LIVING WITH DIABETES: East Ballina Lion Wally Mulgrave is actively involved in the community.
LIVING WITH DIABETES: East Ballina Lion Wally Mulgrave is actively involved in the community. Contribtuted

Wally lost both his legs to diabetes, but he's a survivor

THE East Ballina Lions Club will be doing its bit to raise the awareness of diabetes, with the help of one of the shire's best-known diabetics, Wally Mulgrave.

The Lions will host an information stall on diabetes at Sunday's Ballina market to be held from 7am to 1pm at Canal Rd.

Diabetes is considered a global epidemic with 642 million people expected to have diabetes - or 10% of the anticipated global population - by 2040.

During this week, Lions clubs worldwide will be increasing the awareness of diabetes.

Wally Mulgrave has had the disease for 74 years and may be the oldest survivor of the disease in New South Wales.

The East Ballina Lion was born in Melbourne and was diagnosed at two and a half months old with Type One diabetes.

As a child, he remembers his mother sterilising the needles used to administer the insulin he needed by boiling them up in a saucepan and sharpening them on a stone grinder.

He was on a very special diet and most of his food had to be weighed before each meal even bread and vegetables such as cauliflower.

His condition in general did not affect him when he started school as he had only one injection a day and always carried jelly beans with him.

As a young man, Wally was a keen sportsman playing cricket and basketball.

But he lost his first leg due to his diabetes while in Melbourne and was advised to live in a warmer climate and so relocated to Ballina; however, he had only been here for six months when he lost his second leg.

With enormous determination Wally learnt to walk again with the aid of prosthetic legs.

Despite the loss of his legs, Wally still diligently serves his community.

He mans the till at the Ballina market and sells raffle tickets for the Westpac helicopter and runs the monthly meeting on the second Monday of the month at the Cherry Street Bowling Club for the Diabetics Support Group.

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