TRIBUTE TO LAMIN DIBBA – GAVIN GRIFFITHS

Posted by The Nigeria Diabetes Online Community on April 19, 2020 under Information, NGDOC News, Society, Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

Though hard to accept this loss at such a young age, sending a sincere thanks for the life of Lamin. Those here who crossed paths with him will only have happy and empowered memories of him and his great character, and all he achieved. – Gavin Griffiths.

The world rose to a rude awakening of the death of a well loved and respected African young leader in diabetes whose works has endeared him among friends and colleagues. Tribute flooded on my Timeline from respected leaders and founders of diabetes organizations around the world and i thought to reach out on imprinting his memories in the heart of million and billions of Africans to come. I have therefore asked the permission of Gavin Griffiths of Diathlete to feature his Eulogy of Lamin. Thank you Gavin for this opportunity.

Project in The Gambia: ‘Empower Me Today & I Will Forever be Strong’ in the words of Lamin:

“There are different activities, sessions and events as shown in the pictures.
I have run Educational Events for both Parents and there kids yearly, Home Visit for most of Young ones, Sessions at some of the elderly Young Leader’s Residence to talk about individual challenges, Family Education at home and hospital whenever a new patient is diagnose, I have also enroll few in Skill Training School to become Self Reliance and Few have also taken up Personal Business for Economic gain, in every year I run two Camps for those with poor HBA1c results with a year to better improve their status, ICT Group and CT Group, and finally we do conduct HBA1c Testing every Four months for good monitory scheme.
These are the activities, sessions and events in my 2015-2016 SELF EMPOWERMENT PROJECT, The Gambia.
I believe that the First Doctor for a Patient with Diabetes is Him/Her self. “Empower Me Today and I Will Forever Be Strong”

A PERSONAL STORY OF LAMIN – GAVIN GRIFITHS

Writing with sadness & emptiness in heart, after the loss of a wonderful human being, Lamin Dibba, this week. But sharing his message & some cherished memories which live on, as a small tribute that I wish we didn’t have to do.
Lamin was from The Gambia. He was born 7 Dec 1988. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as you might imagine under challenging circumstances in essential healthcare access, but a key supporter took Lamin under his wing, Dr Gaye, helping Lamin to receive some crucial treatments. Dr Gaye saw potential in Lamin as an advocate, where Lamin became a leader in the Gambian Diabetes Association & regularly engaged in projects to help people / families diagnosed with diabetes in the Banjul region. In 2013 Dr Gaye put Lamin forward for an opportunity of a lifetime, he became an IDF Young Leader in Diabetes & attended the World Diabetes Congress & Training in Melbourne

On a personal level, this is where I met Lamin; we landed at a similar time & were picked up together from the airport. Lamin was one of the first international friends sharing diabetes in common I had. Everybody loved Lamin. Why? Because he was kind. He was honest. He was a gentleman who wished others well, with a unique passion to make a difference from his heart. He was also a family man. He did not have the easiest upbringing when losing his dear Mother. But he helped raise his 4 sisters, whom he loved greatly and spoke of with such high admiration.

Following our meeting in Australia, he inspired me. I didn’t know how to help, all I could do was run like an idiot & try to fundraise. This is where I owe Lamin thanks. At this point in my life I had been supporting major diabetes charities at home, but had grown frustrated perhaps in the corporate / political areas in our cause. Lamin shared his fire that refreshed my view. How grassroots is the way of impact. In 2014 a project had been dreamed up, partnering with Marjorie’s Fund on a fundraiser; it entailed 7 marathons over in the US in 7 days and a tour to reach communities, sharing awareness of diabetes in lower income countries. On completion of this adventure MF donated to Lamin’s project in The Gambia which he called “Empower Me Today and I Will Forever Be Strong.”

Following Melbourne, Lamin had also become good friends of Elizabeth Rowley (he thought the world of her) and the work of T1International, who further equipped him with advocacy training and support to develop projects and make them succeed. And succeed they did! With some funding to his local association, they had a hba1c testing device and made 4 month check ups to closely monitor local patients. Lamin and his team conducted home visits and educational programmes, they made camps and workshops. In one case, they managed to help a person go from a hba1c% above 14 to 7.9 within a 2 year span. In 2015, as the old YLD system used to work, Lamin was invited to return and complete his training at the World Diabetes Congress in Vancouver. He had the opportunity to present his work to the young leaders & at the congress.

One fond memory I have was when Lamin was preparing for his presentation, we had a lot of sessions and little time, so I ‘played the D card’ (said that Lamin wasn’t too well to get out of the session, though Paul might have known) and we gained an hour or so to prepare slides and practise. But to begin, we had to take a trip outside where there were white sheets on the ground; Lamin had never seen the snow before so a photoshoot was required!
He smashed the presentations, with the heart and spirit he always contained. In the years to follow – without going into the details of the IDF situation which followed – when times were tough, with Lamin in the YLD position of Africa regional chair, I knew he was someone to always turn to and rely on. He was a friend. And in our chats we would dream up how to change the world, put it all to rights.

He faced some hurdles with healthcare access. Initially he was supported until the age of 25 via an external programme that provided funds for essential diabetes costs. Once passing that age, or for those not under that programme, the cost of insulins and testing strips were self funded – not easy when in a location where trying to earn general funds to survive on is hard enough. This leaves a lot of people with little choice but to ration. Dr Gaye remained a protection for Lamin through most of those times, doing his best to support his advocate. Lamin dreamed of seeing the world, exploring a bit; and he achieved that against all odds. He saw Melbourne, Vancouver, and in 2017 he made it to Abu Dhabi, where again I’m sure any who met him there he left a lasting impression on. He passed over in Canada

Lamin was loved and appreciated by all he met; a hero we won’t forget. He stood for productive changes for those with diabetes, especially for those facing hardships and restrictions across Africa.
RIP brother.

GAVIN GRIFFITHS

Gavin Griffiths is the founder of Leagues of Diathlete a team of passionate ‘DiAdvocates’ living with T1 diabetes, and a connected alliance of diabetes patient organization shared around the world.

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