The Press and Journal
August 29, 2023

Sande hit to highlight fight against diabetes on World Insulin Day

Emeli Sande, the singer-songwriter from the northeast, is allowing her music to become the theme song for World Insulin Day.


The Alford chart-topper has given the green light for her hit Read All About It Part III to be used as part of the annual celebrations each January 23 which hail pioneering Aberdeen medic John James Rickard Macleod.

The JJR Macleod Memorial Society founder and chairman John Otto praised Sande’s sup- port, calling the singer’s involvement in e!orts to highlight the fight against diabetes as “beyond belief”.

He added: “I’ve always found the lyrics of that particular song of Emeli Sande’s very meaningful because they resonate with the suppression of Macleod’s legacy and the fear of stigmatisation that Type-1 children often deal with. The song has always been in my head since I first heard it.”

Sande will also be honoured with a bronze plaque at the World Insulin Wall memorial being planned at Aberdeen’s Duthie Park.

Mr Otto added: “To have someone as world-renowned as Emeli Sande agree to use her song as our theme song is beyond belief. It’s amazing.”

The society was formed to preserve the legacy of insulin co-founder Macleod.

The JJR Macleod Memorial project was established in 2021 and has secured £170,000 to have a memorial honouring the Nobel Prize winner installed in Duthie Park.

Mr Otto recruited sculptor John McKenna to bring his vision to life.

A bronze and granite memorial, known as Macleod’s Corner, will take pride of place in Duthie Park featuring a seated life-size bronze statue of Macleod amid a terrace of reclaimed granite backed by a World Insulin Wall, two park benches inspired by the memorial’s bronze bench and a landscaped World Insulin Way leading visitors to the site.

Mr Otto, who was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes in 1973, said: “Without Macleod, the discovery of insulin wouldn’t have happened when it did. In the last century, he is responsible for saving over 300 million lives. That’s a huge figure to get your head around,” Insulin was discovered in 1921 at the University of Toronto.

Mr Otto noted it was Sir Frederick G Banting and Charles H Best who received the credit for the life-saving discovery whilst Macleod, a former University of Aberdeen student, was “airbrushed from history” despite winning a Nobel Prize.

He said: “It was classed as what is certainly one of the greatest medical discoveries of the 20th century. Macleod has been little-known because there’s been a lot of animosity across in Canada where it was discovered.

“Six years after the discovery he came back to Aberdeen and never spoke about it because he was fed up of the carry-on across the water.”

When Macleod died in 1931, Mr Otto claims “the knowledge of what he did at this side of the pond died with him”.

It was not until the 1980s that Mr Otto himself became aware of the “forgotten hero” and made it his mission to pay tribute to the “wonderful man who saved so many lives”.