From left, Rebecca Merriman (Medtronic), Melissa Louis (Medtronic), Shelley Blonheim (Insulin Pump User), Laura Cameron (Medtronic), Linda Hepner (Surrey Mayor), Neil Fraser (Medtronic) cut the ribbon to officially open a new Medtronic diabetes resource centre in Surrey. (Submitted photo)

Canada’s first Medtronic diabetes resource centre opens in Surrey

Fraser Health says Surrey and Abbotsford have the largest proportion of diabetics in the region

SURREY — Canada’s first Medtronic Resource Centre for patients with diabetes held its grand opening in Surrey this Wednesday (June 14).

Located on the main floor of the City Centre 1 building across the street from Surrey Memorial Hospital, the new centre will serve as a one-stop shop for those with diabetes.

“It’s intended to be able to provide support in between clinic visits,” explained Laura Cameron director of Medtronic Canada’s Diabetes Group. “To allow them to better utilize their technology so that they can have better support in managing their diabetes. We hope it will provide additional support to the clinics who will be doing some of the less-basic things with them. We’ll take care of some of the stuff in between.”

The goal, she noted, is to “elevate their ability to manage their disease and as a result, have better outcomes and fewer complications,” thus, improving lives.

The new centre will offer insulin pump classes, lessons on CGM (continuous glucose monitoring) and educate patients on carb counting and best travel practices.

The centre, within the Innovation Boulevard health tech district, will also provide networking opportunities and one-on-one time with certified insulin pump trainers.

Cameron said Surrey was chosen as the location for their centre because of the high prevalence of diabetes in the city, and all of Fraser Health.

It’s estimated that 29 per cent of British Columbians (or 1.5 million people) have either diabetes or “pre-diabetes.” Over the last decade, the province has seen a 74 per cent spike in the number of people diagnosed with diabetes and by 2027, it’s projected to grow by another 44 per cent.

According to Fraser Health, Surrey and Abbotsford have the largest proportion of diabetics within its region, which the health authority says may be due to the large South Asian populations living there.

Surrey diabetes specialist Dr. Chris Mahony said the centre has been “much anticipated as a real-world solution to a real-world problem, offering post-marketing care of our clients on an intensive insulin regimen using Medtronic insulin pump technology.”

He said the centre will “raise the bar” to a new level of support.

Jodie Steen has been living with Type 1 Diabetes for 31 years and started on her first insulin pump almost 17 years ago.

“It has given me so much freedom and better blood sugar control than multiple daily injections,” she aid. “More recently, I have been wearing CGM on a regular basis which has resulted in the best A1C I have had in years.”

Steen said she looks forward to having the “access to experts” at her convenience.

Cameron said that’s why she does what she does – to help people live better lives.

“We hear stories about parents who had their first good night sleep since their child was diagnosed, as a result of being able to trust the pump,” said Cameron. “That’s why we’re so passionate. It’s very rewarding.”

The new Medtronic Resource Centre is located in the City Centre 1 building, located at 13737 96th Ave.

amy.reid@surreynowleader.com