World’s Longest Living Person With Type 1

Who doesn’t like an inspiring story at this time of year? Today’s uplifting news comes out of New Zealand, the place that Winsome Johnston, the world’s longest living person with Type 1 diabetes, calls home.


Ms. Johnston, who has had Type 1 for 78 years, was diagnosed when she was just six years old. Told that she wouldn’t live very long and would never have children, Ms. Johnston is now 84 and has four children, eight grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren, with another on the way.

Rab Burton, who is Ms. Johnston’s diabetes nurse, says that she has never missed an appointment in eight years. “She followed everything to the book. I think that’s her secret,” he says.

To learn more about Winsome Johnston, check out this article from 3 News in New Zealand. And to read more about others who have successfully lived with their diabetes for 50 years or more, see this page on the Joslin Medalists.

This blog entry was written by Web Editor Diane Fennell.

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  • Gail Ellison

    This wonderful lady is a member of our diabetes support group, in Auckland New Zealand. She was our first Co-ordinator and laid the foundations for what has become a very successful support group.

    Win inspired many during her ‘reign’ and continues to do so while still playing an active role within our group today.

    We like to think of Win as our ‘Diabetes Poster Girl’ and I am proud to claim her as a personal friend and mentor of many years.

    Gail Ellison ~ Co-ordinator
    Avondale/New Lynn Diabetes Support Group
    New Zealand

  • Elizabeth John

    My mother lived to be 94 with type one diabetes. She had 5 full term pregnancies. She was born in 1916 and was diagnosed in her early 20s, when insulin therapy was relatively new. That being said, she had a degree in biochemistry, and was meticulous about her diet. She died of congestive heart failure, unrelated to diabetes. She may have been the oldest insulin maintained diabetic.