LIFE with type 1 diabetes is all about living, according to Rockhampton's Douglas Simpson.
Mr Simpson was one of 10 Queenslanders recently awarded the Kellion Victory Medal as part of World Diabetes Day celebrations.
The award marks a huge personal triumph, living a healthy and active 50 years with Type 1 diabetes.
Unlike the lifestyle disease, Type 2 diabetes, Type 1or juvenile diabetes cannot be prevented or delayed.
"When I was told I had to have insulin injections I refused, saying, 'I do not take drugs', but now I say thank heavens for insulin," he said.
"Stress is the hardest single hurdle to overcome."
Mr Simpson said he received excellent medical attention at the Rockhampton Hospital and Wesley Hospital in Brisbane and continues to enjoy life and the world.
He said the key was to live life as normally as possible.
"Do things; don't sit in an armchair watching TV," he said.
"Being a diabetic, you're forced into governing your lifestyle and trying to do the right thing. I'm still here at 71 and still playing bowls. I even won the veterans singles title."
At 20 years old, Mr Simpson was given three years to live and couldn't walk for eight months.
The reason was never correctly diagnosed, but the doctors were wrong.
"I've enjoyed my life," he said.
"I'm in reasonably good health... a lot of people can't do the things they used to, even without diabetes.
"But you need to interact with other people or you'll bring yourself down. Keep interested and doing things."
CEO of Diabetes Queensland, Michelle Trute, said living for 50 years with diabetes, the Kellion Victory Medal recipients reminded everyone that despite the constant struggle to manage blood glucose levels, the result could still be a long and productive life.
"The Kellions are heroes in the diabetes community," she said.
"Their battle to survive and live a full life inspires Diabetes Queensland to keep seeking improvements in the early detection, diagnosis and management of diabetes in the community."
Obesity and eating too much sugar are major triggers for Type 2 diabetes but have no relation to Type 1, which is unpreventable and incurable.