WDD 2022: Diabetes silver linings


PDC Health Hub

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to help people. As I got older and introduced to the world of type 1 diabetes (through my mum who has lived with it since long before I came into the world), this passion for wanting to help people narrowed to wanting to help people living with diabetes. Mostly I wanted to find a cure for type 1, but as much as I wanted that, I knew I didn’t have it in me to become a scientist, researcher or doctor. Fast forward to now… (spoiler alert: I'm still not a scientist, researcher or doctor).


As the Health Promotion & Communications Manager at PDC, over the past few months I have (nearly) single-handedly organized an educational dinner for the Perth diabetes community, met Dr Jeremy Robertson (Australia’s first commercial pilot with T1D), planned an RUOK? Day breakfast event for my fellow PDC staff, I’ve on-boarded a dietetics prac student, I’ve created endless resources for our clients, I’ve helped with the planning of a T1D mental wellbeing masterclass event and I’ve brought to life our biggest event yet; the 2022 T1DTech Summit.

I’ve also attended a 3-day diabetes conference in Brisbane where I heard from some of the most incredible people and learnt about what they are doing to make life easier for people living with diabetes. It was incredible from both a personal and work perspective. I got to personally meet and chat with the NDSS General Manager, JDRF staff, Diabetes Australia staff, Ashley Hanger/Stripped Supply and all of the major diabetes tech companies.

Without being diagnosed with T1D in 2018 none of this would have happened. I don’t know what I’d be doing now, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be this. My path would have been very different.

Don’t get me wrong, as I touched on earlier, diabetes has always featured in my life. I’ve done countless JDRF walks to find a cure, Diabetes WA has always been a go-to charity of choice when fundraising for events such as that time I did a half marathon for the HBF run for a reason! Growing up with a parent who lives with type 1 diabetes, I’ve seen how much it can impact a family. I grew up very quickly once I was old enough for my parents to explain that Mum has Type 1Diabetes and that’s why she’d taken a “funny turn” earlier that day.

Then it was my turn. I still vividly remember being absolutely petrified the day I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (many, many years later after becoming a mum myself 2 years prior at 28 yrs of age). I had a 2 year old to care for, I was barely out of the woods of PND and here I was being told I had Type 1 Diabetes. A life-changing disease that couldn't be prevented, there was no cure and I knew exactly how quickly things could get bad with this disease. Sure, it definitely helped having the first-hand experience of life with T1D in the family, but that also came with the significant burden of knowing how quickly things can get bad and how much you depend on other people (sometimes complete strangers!) to keep you alive at times.

Little did I know, how much this would change things and how much of a super power T1D can be.

It’s introduced me to some of the most wonderful and inspiring people.

T1D made me step out of my job comfort zone. I left a job I had been in for 10+ years. I knew it like the back of my hand, it was comfy, I knew what I was doing there, it was flexible, everyone knew me well. It’s a job that has opened up incredible opportunities. Like meeting the CEO of JDRF. I’ve met politician, Hannah Beazley. The previously mentioned trip to Brisbane. I get to help bring ideas to life that will help improve the lives of people living with diabetes. I am in my absolute element when I’m organizing events – big and small – for the diabetes community and our overall community of clients. I love it, and I know that these events are so helpful, informative and empowering. It’s so rewarding to be part of the team that makes these events happen. I also create resources for our staff and clients that get used every day, they bring value every day. They make life easier for people living with diabetes and other chronic health conditions every day! That’s pretty special.

I’ve collaborated with some incredible diabetes advocates to bring people the information they want to know, and to help bring about changes to access that the T1D community deserves.

I am confident that none of this would’ve ever been on the cards had I not been diagnosed with T1D. My diagnosis was terrifying, and diabetes sure is a pain to have to manage on the daily. There’s no breaks, no respite. But it’s led me down a path of my greatest, proudest work achievements and given me the opportunity to give back to the diabetes community; just like I’ve always wanted to.

Happy World Diabetes Day 2022.

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