A woman was given just four days to live when she was diagnosed with diabetes.
But that was 50 years ago and now Ann Clegg, of Ilkley, has received a national award in recognition of her achievement.
Mrs Clegg, 78, reached her milestone this year and was presented with the Alan Nabarro Medal at Airedale Hospital on behalf of charity Diabetes UK in recognition of her valiant fight with the condition.
The 78-year-old, who has two children, four grandsons and three great granddaughters, has held a wide range of jobs, from secretarial work to working on cruise ships.
Mrs Clegg says her good health is a result of a fortunate life with much support from her family. Her daughter, Alison, has also been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Over the past three years, fewer than 50 of the medals have been awarded across the Yorkshire region.
She has been recognised as a prime example of how anyone with diabetes can live a long and fulfilling life with the correct management of the condition.
Mrs Clegg said: “Diabetes wasn’t very common at all when I was first diagnosed. They didn’t even have specialist care for diabetes and I was admitted to a heart ward.
“Thinking back, I was probably suffering from the age of 16 but the illness was so rare I wasn’t diagnosed for 12 years.”
In the early days, she had to sterilise needles and glass syringes in a pan of boiling water, and was afraid of losing her job if she revealed her condition.
Diabetics today are diagnosed quickly and have much simpler condition management.
Dr Andrew Pettit, a consultant specialising in diabetes at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said there has been many advances in treatment.
The Alan Nabarro award was named after diabetic, Alan Nabarro, who fought a long battle to stop discrimination towards people with the condition. When first diagnosed, he was given six months to live but went on to live for 55 years with the condition after the discovery of insulin.