It is with deep sadness and regret that the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) announces the passing of its Honorary President and Member, Lorna Mellor AM.
Lorna, together with her husband Brian, made an enormous contribution to improving the care of children with type 1 diabetes in her home country of Australia and internationally. Following the diagnosis of their young daughter Christine in the late 1960s, they established the parents’ group DIABS with the motto of “self-help through education.” This allowed hundreds of parents in New South Wales to learn through each other’s experiences and provide much needed psychosocial support to cope with the demands of having a child with type 1 diabetes. Lorna and Brian subsequently founded the Diabetes Youth Foundation in 1979, which evolved into the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation of Australia (JDFA), now part of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Their generous support also funded the first paediatric diabetes educator in Australia.
With a background in teaching, Lorna took an active interest in developing diabetes education as a key component of diabetes care. She also recognised the need to support the families of children with diabetes with innovative and creative initiatives such as the Children’s Camping Program. Lorna was singlehandedly responsible for establishing the JDFA research programme for Australia and putting in place the systems that ensure the support that Australian researchers currently receive from JDRF.
Internationally, Lorna was an active contributor to IDF activities. She notably played a leading role in the organisation of the IDF Congress in Sydney in 1988 and was instrumental in establishing the IDF Consultative Section on Children and Adolescents. In recognition of her efforts, Laura was named an Honorary President of IDF.
In 1989, Lorna’s achievements were recognised nationally when she was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (AM).
Lorna will be remembered by many as a larger than life figure, with boundless energy and enthusiasm. She was motivated by a wish to see all children with diabetes receive the best possible care and for their families to be supported. Through her volunteer work she has improved the lives of many children with diabetes and their families throughout the world.
IDF extends its deepest condolences to Lorna’s family and friends at this time of sadness.